Raise homes or pay big, N.J. shore residents told
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 9:32 p.m.
SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. — Superstorm Sandy landed one final stunning blow to New Jersey on Thursday as the state adopted rebuilding guidelines that come with sticker shock.
They will force homeowners in flood zones to spend tens of thousands of dollars to raise their houses or pay exorbitant premiums of up to $31,000 a year for flood insurance later.
Gov. Chris Christie said he adopted flood maps issued late last year by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as New Jersey's standard for rebuilding from the worst storm in its history. The superstorm destroyed more than 30,000 homes, caused $37 billion in damage and is still keeping 41,000 people out of their damaged homes.
He also said there are “very few places” where New Jerseyans won't be able to rebuild if the higher buildings standards are used.
Christie, a Republican running for re-election this November and a strong early contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, stressed that the guidelines don't force anyone to raise their homes. But he laid out a stark choice: do the elevations called for under the FEMA maps or pay through the nose for flood insurance each year.
“If you choose not to, you'll have substantially higher flood insurance costs, which could be ... seven or eight times what you pay now,” he said at a news conference in Seaside Heights, where the storm wrecked the boardwalk and pitched a roller coaster into the ocean in one of Sandy's defining images.
“There's going to have to be some hard decisions made,” Christie said. “But for the shore as a whole, I think that's the right decision to make.”
The new rules took effect immediately.
Three months after Sandy hit, many homeowners are still dazed, trying to navigate a maddening maze of insurance companies, government regulations and dwindling finances. Most say they have been unable to make crucial decisions on whether and how to rebuild until clear rules were set telling them how high they had to go.
While several expressed gratitude for a clearer road map for the future, the expenses involved staggered some.
Linda Stefanik of Seaside Park is wrestling with whether to raise her business and a house she owns with her sister.
“It's a lot to take in,” she said. “It's going to average between $30,000 and $60,000 for everyone who's going to do it. Seaside Park is not all rich people. If they can't get some grants, I don't know if a lot of them will be able to do it.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- House Republicans signal support for budget deal
- Budget deal reverses $63B in cuts, excludes extension of jobless benefits
- Web ‘sextortionist’ jailed on 31 felony counts
- ‘Walking Dead’ actress guilty of sending ricin letters
- Farm bill off for now, but milk prices not expected to spike — yet
- $80M awarded in collision in which N.M. woman suffocated in sand
- Meningitis victims hope for Massachusetts criminal charges
- FBI’s elite surveillance team trying to find ‘Mo’
- Satanists want to build monument
- Iranian foreign minister says nuke deal dead if new sanctions imposed
- Senate panel vets noncontroversial IRS nominee