On Tuesday January 22, 2013, Mayor Kelaher met with Marc Ferzan, Governor Chrisite’s Sandy Recovery Coordinator and his staff in Trenton to discuss ongoing concerns the Township has with respect to the FEMA Advisory Base Flood Elevation Maps that were released in December.
http://www.tomsrivertownship.com/downloads/FEMA-ABFE-Review-Letter.pdf. Based on the Mayor’s concerns, Mr. Ferzan was able to schedule a meeting with FEMA officials for the following day (1/23/13). The meeting was attended by representatives from the Governor’s staff, Mayor Kelaher, Council President George Wittmann, Councilmen Sevastatkis and Carr, Business Administrator Paul Shives, Township Engineer Bob Chankalian and Assistant Township Engineer Wendy Birkhead. During that discussion, FEMA representatives advised the Township of the following:
- They listened to the Township’s concerns with respect to the Base Flood Elevation Maps and committed to review the information submitted by the Township and to exchange information with the Township as they receive it based on further modeling and analysis that is currently underway. FEMA advised, however, that they will not be changing the maps or issuing revised mapping until the next round of revised maps are issued which is scheduled for August of 2013. FEMA representatives advised that the FEMA regulations set forth a specific schedule for release of the maps and they must follow that schedule. The Township requested some type of interim interpretation specifically with respect to the Velocity zone designations in advance of the issuance of the revised maps to assist our residents in making these important decisions; however, that is not possible according to FEMA.
- Based on the township’s serious concerns, the FEMA representatives committed to take a detailed look at the Velocity Zone designation on the mainland and advised that the Velocity Zone may in fact be reduced when the next round of maps are released based on further engineering modeling and analysis, but could not commit to that at this time.
- The FEMA representatives agreed to review additional construction techniques that may be acceptable in the Velocity Zone that are currently not shown on the FEMA website. This is information that is critical for property owners to consider all options.
- Lastly, the FEMA representatives agreed that it would be extremely helpful to be able to advise residents what the difference in flood insurance premiums would be if a property owner raised their residence to the Advisory Base Flood Elevation WITHOUT constructing in accordance with the Velocity Zone standards. The Township feels this is critical information for property owners to have to make an informed decision moving forward.
We will continue our dialogue with FEMA and update our residents as more information is available.