NJ’s Sandy recovery continues

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DEP commissioner: New flood maps are coming, but no date set

While other coastal counties have already seen smaller-than-originally-proposed V-zones on FEMA’s working maps, Cape May County is still in the dark.

But, new maps for the county are being drawn up the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

During a press conference Thursday, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said the county can expect to see a new set of flood maps released in the upcoming months.

“FEMA is working on those maps at this point in time,” Martin said. However, there was no set date for them to be released.

Atlantic, Ocean, Monmouth, and Hudson counties were issued new base flood elevation maps in June, which moved a majority of bayside homes from the restrictive V, or velocity, zone back into the less-stringent coastal A-zone.

When advisory maps were released in January, many homes originally in the A-zone had been moved to the V-zone, which caused confusion among residents and backlash from local coastal communities.

Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order making those maps law in January.

The release of these new maps in Cape May County will be the second step in the process of updating the FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Also called FIRMs, the maps dictate insurance premiums for homeowners under the National Flood Insurance Program.

The base flood elevation is the minimum elevation of the first habitable floor of a structure. Structures below BFE face higher premiums and do not conform to building standards.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez pushed for FEMA to release these new working maps back in June.

“For residents in many of the areas affected by superstorm Sandy, the release of these updated flood maps could be the deciding factor in whether they are able to stay in their homes or are forced to relocate,” Menendez said in a release.

In that release, he said that he believed the maps to be “fundamentally flawed” and incorrectly included too many homes in the V zone.

“The new working maps being released confirm this belief as they remove large areas from the V zone designation,” Menendez said.

During Thursday’s press conference, DEP Commissioner Martin also discussed the progress made throughout the state in the aftermath of Sandy.

He said that beach replenishment projects were ongoing in some Cape May County towns, such as Stone Harbor and Cape May.

North Wildwood just completed a $3.5 million replenishment to its north end beaches this month, and Ocean City’s south end is expected to see a replenishment next year.

Martin stressed that engineered beaches, with substantial dune systems, protected beach towns during Hurricane Sandy. The state is expected to spend $1 billion in beach replenishments and on building dunes to protect the Jersey coastline.

Besides replenishments, Martin said that the state is expected to demolish a total of 3,000 homes throughout the state in the upcoming months. These are homes that suffered substantial damage from Sandy and are uninhabitable.

He said about 1,000 homes had already been demolished. The state also estimates that it will buy out about 3,000 homes that were destroyed during Sandy.

Christie Rotondo can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story below. 

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