From the Bridgeton News:
Declaring the controversial federal flood zone maps issued in the wake of Hurricane Sandy “fundamentally flawed,” U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said today revised maps will be released next week removing large areas from the worst at-risk zones.
Menendez said earlier versions of the maps, which aren’t yet final, “incorrectly included far too many homes” in areas at risk of major waves — sections called “V” zones.
“For residents in many of the areas affected by Superstorm Sandy, the release of these updated flood maps could be the deciding factor in whether they are able to stay in their homes or are forced to relocate,” Menendez said.
The new maps, to be released Monday, will cover Monmouth, Ocean, Hudson and Atlantic counties.
The debate over which homes fall in the dreaded “V” zone has been one of the most contentious issues for homeowners along the shore since the hurricane struck last October.
Property owners have been anxiously awaiting revised maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency because they will dictate how many — and how high — homes or businesses have to be raised to protect from flooding. That ultimately affects flood insurance rates as well and whether homeowners will even be able to afford to rebuild.
Removing large numbers of homes from the “V” zone would be good news for those property owners who have not yet rebuilt.
“This is great news for the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who were incorrectly included in high-risk, high-cost ‘V’ zones,” George Kasimos, founder of Stop FEMA Now, a property-owners advocacy group, said in a statement.
In Brick, about 4,000 homes were slated to move to “V” zones. Mayor Stephen Acropolis said he expects 3,500 homes will move back to “A” zones when the new maps come out.
Still, there will likely be an additional 10,000 to 12,000 Ocean County residents who must now obtain flood insurance, he said.