TRENTON – Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, issued the following statement today regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) release of new flood maps for Atlantic, Hudson, Monmouth and Ocean Counties:
“Compared to the advisory maps released in December, these maps greatly reduce the number of homes in the velocity zone (V zone) – a distinction that may require a homeowner to spend tens of thousands of dollars to elevate their homes on pilings to protect against wave action during a storm. In Atlantic County, for example, we are seeing an 80 percent reduction in V zone coverage from the advisory maps. While the increase in storms and severe weather patterns seen of late does warrant revisions to the 30 year old maps, placing bayside homes into V zones would have caused extreme financial hardships for many New Jersey families who did not sustain heavy damage during Hurricane Sandy.
“Over the past six months, I have met with the Governor, FEMA officials and with community organizations such as the Coastal Coalition – a bipartisan group of elected officials, municipal engineers, municipal zoning and planning officials, and researchers from Atlantic and Cape May counties – in order to fully understand the implications of the maps on Shore communities and to relay my concerns that these advisory maps did not take into account dunes, bulkheads and other measures put into place to protect some areas from storm-driven waves. These revised maps show that my concerns and those of affected homeowners have been heard.
“These maps take a more reasonable approach that will protect homeowners who are at the highest risk of flooding and storm damage without causing financial ruin for those who are not in direct danger.
“For those residents within the new velocity zones, I encourage them to look at federal assistance programs such as reNEW Jersey Stronger to help aid in the cost of repairing and rebuilding their homes.”