Source: Assembly Republican Press Release
Legislation permitting owners with a limited exemption from local land use restrictions in order to raise an existing structure to the new elevation level proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was approved by the Assembly today.
The bill, A-3890, is sponsored by Assembly Republicans Holly Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic, and Assemblyman Scott Rudder, R-Burlington, Atlantic and Camden.
“The lessons learned after the devastation caused by Super Storm Sandy were costly,” said Schepisi. “Property owners are faced with the decision of whether or not they should incur the expense to raise their homes or face astronomical increases in their homeowners’ insurance. They shouldn’t be put in a Catch-22 position by an ordinance prohibiting them from conforming with FEMA’s recommendations. Government should not hinder those who have come to grips with undertaking the exorbitant cost of safeguarding their home and conforming to the standards it establishes.”
The exemption to Schepisi and Rudder’s bill would apply only to the extent necessary to meet the new FEMA base flood elevation applicable to the location in question. It allows a person to raise the structure to the “highest applicable flood elevation standard,” which is defined as the higher of two standards: (1) the new FEMA base flood elevation plus two additional feet, or (2) any applicable flood elevation standard required as it relates to regulations adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection.”
“For many people it is not an easy choice as to elevate their home, walk away from it, or roll the dice that we won’t see another 100-year flood in our lifetime,” said Rudder. “One piece of red tape they shouldn’t have to cut through is an intractable local ordinance keeping them from doing what the federal government prescribes. Common sense and some flexibility are in order in dealing with this once-in-a-lifetime decision.”