RGH House Lifting News: New flood maps shrink riskiest areas in 4 N.J. counties by at least 45 percent

RGH Development Company continues to raise flooded homes in an ongoing effort to restore coastline areas as well as inland areas that have a high flood potential.   These new maps are very important to the process in which your house may be lifted and the cost of lifting your house.  Please contact a representative at RGH Development if you are considering raising your home.  Please read on below for more news on the new NJ flood maps...

New flood maps for four New Jersey counties shrunk the most at-risk areas by at least 45 percent, a Federal Emergency Management Agency official said today.

The change means thousands of property owners in Atlantic, Hudson, Monmouth and Ocean counties no longer have to worry about raising their houses on pilings – a costly project that involves moving the building during construction.

FEMA told reporters this morning these new maps likely will not change as they proceed through an approval process that could stretch until the end of 2014. “What will change will be the appeals going forward,” said Bill McDonnell, the agency’s mitigation branch director for New Jersey.

On Sunday, FEMA released preliminary work maps for Atlantic, Hudson, Monmouth and Ocean counties that offered a more detailed sense of the Garden State’s flood situation. The flood maps, part of a widespread update across New Jersey, govern the state’s flood insurance rates.

Property owners aren’t necessarily required to lift their buildings, unless they were substantially damaged in Hurricane Sandy, but they could pay tens of thousands of dollars more in flood insurance if they don’t comply.

Anyone who was moved out of the worst flood-risk sections, so-called “V” zones that are vulnerable to breaking waves of at least 3 feet, have been moved to the less restrictive “A” zone. They may still have to lift their buildings, but are not required to use pilings.

NJ Flood Maps - RGH Development House lifting

Search the new FEMA flood maps

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has released updated flood maps for four New Jersey counties — Atlantic, Hudson, Monmouth and Ocean. These maps are meant to supersede the Advisory Base Flood Elevations released earlier by the agency. Zoom in or search by address in the interactive map below to compare the new and old flood zones. 

Previously, property owners relied on advisory base flood elevation maps by FEMA as they rebuilt their homes in the wake of Sandy. Those maps were heavily criticized by property owners and municipal leaders because of concerns about their accuracy.

McDonnell said the advisory maps, released in December, were only intended to provide guidance but were far from final.

“They were not a complete product,” he said. “Now, the process is complete. The analysis is done.”

With the new maps, which take into account ground obstacles against flooding, “V” zone acreage in Ocean and Monmouth shrank by 45 and 46 percent, respectively. And much larger reductions were seen in Atlantic and Hudson counties.

Because of a prevalence of marshland in Atlantic County, the “V” zone there was reduced by 80 percent, according to FEMA. The urban Hudson County saw a 76 percent reduction.

However, FEMA could not say exactly how many homes and businesses were moved out of the “V” zone because the agency didn’t have the footprint data of structures.

Ocean County also saw its special hazard flood area, which includes both “A” and “V” zones, reduce by 3 percent, McDonnell said. Monmouth and Atlantic counties saw the size of flood areas decrease by 1 percent, while Hudson saw it decrease by 8 percent.

McDonnell warned that while the “V” zones decreased in the four counties, the danger of major flood damage has increased since the flood maps last saw wholesale updates a couple decades ago.

Property owners with questions about flood insurance or the flood maps may call a federal hotline (877)-287-9804, but FEMA officials asked that they wait until Tuesday to call. A representative will be available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for questions.