New FEMA flood maps for Cape May County due out today

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As many as 300 homes in Upper Township removed from V Zone in latest version

UPPER TOWNSHIP – Cape May County officials were set to meet in Cape May Court House Tuesday to discuss the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) new preliminary base flood maps.

Mayor Richard Palombo said the maps had dramatically reduced the flood zones for homes in Strathmere, Beesleys Point and along the Tuckahoe River. As many as 300 homes may be removed from the Velocity zones and put into A zones there.

That will prevent large increases in the cost of flood insurance for homeowners in Strathmere, Harbor Road in Beesleys Point and on the Tuckahoe River, he said.

“It was a frightening scenario,” Palombo said. “It could have dramatically affected the cost of flood insurance and property values in Strathmere.”

Residents in Strathmere have said they feared FEMA’s earlier advisory maps for base flood elevations would devastate this small seashore community and other barrier island towns on the Jersey Shore.

Homes that are not raised to the new elevations would face increases in their annual insurance premiums, possibly as large as $31,000. 

The advisory base flood elevation maps moved parts of Strathmere into the V zone, and recommend V zone construction practices in areas still designated as A zone.

The V or velocity zone is the area in which construction is at greatest risk from floods and waves.

In Strathmere and Whale Beach, beachfront homes in the V zone would have to be built at a 14-foot elevation to withstand a 100-year storm. Some homes on Bayview Drive would have to have a 12-foot elevation.

Most of the homes in Strathmere, which remain in the A zone, would have to build at an 11-foot elevation.

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