a.Damage to your property. If the damage to your property exceeds 50% of the value of the dwelling unit itself (not the land), you will be required to raise your property in accordance with FEMA regulations to make certain it is above the minimum base flood elevation (BFE) as shown on the FEMA floodplain maps. Your insurance agent should be able to provide a proof of loss to you setting forth the total dollar amount of the damage your property sustained. If you did not have insurance, you will need an appraisal showing the property damage. FEMA has a program to financially assist homeowners in raising their properties known as the ICC program. The Township Engineer’s office can assist you with more information about this program at 732-341-1000 EXT 8335 or by email at Rjchankalian@tomsrivertownship.com. It is important to note, however, that new “advisory” floodplain maps were issued by FEMA on 12/21/12. The proposed new base flood elevations are shown on those maps. We strongly recommend that you discuss this issue with your insurance carrier, who will be able to advise you with respect to the FEMA flood insurance program, the new base flood elevation maps, and the flood insurance premium costs which are increasing over the next few years. If the damage to your property is less than 50% of the value of the dwelling unit, you are not required to raise your home above the base flood elevation; however, we recommend that you explore all options with your contractor and insurance carrier since, in the long run, it may be more cost-effective for certain homeowners to consider raising their home in light of the newly enacted federal flood insurance premium increases and surcharges that may apply.
b.Zoning Issues: Following the storm, the Township formulated a policy that permits homeowners to rebuild on the existing “footprint” of their principal structure without the necessity of obtaining a zoning variance. The only exception to this policy will be for property owners who decide to raise their homes above the current height limit of 35 feet in the zoning ordinance. We recommend that you contact the Township Planner’s office at 732-341-1000 EXT 8354 or by email at JLynch@tomsrivertownship.com.
c.Construction Methods: We strongly recommend that you thoroughly check out the qualifications and background of any contractor you are considering. It is important to make certain that the contractor is familiar with approved construction methods and the Uniform Construction Code, specifically as it relates to reconstruction in a flood zone. Unfortunately, the Township is precluded from giving advice to homeowners concerning any specific contractor. You can contact the Ocean County Office of Consumer Affairs to see if they have any information on a specific contractor at 732-929-2105.