A group calling itself Stop FEMA Now is gathering Saturday to try to get the new FEMA flood maps changed in New Jersey.
Many are upset over how much of the Jersey Shore has been designated in the “V zone,” where they are said to be vulnerable to both flooding and high-impact waves.
Organizer George Kasimos says it’s important that the flood maps be finalized so residents know how to rebuild from Superstorm Sandy, such as if they must be elevated significantly.
“If I raise my home to a V zone level today, it would have cost $100,000 extra,” said Kasimos. “If in the future that elevation goes down, either the government or a private person spent that hundred thousand dollars needlessly, and that’s our problem.”
Homeowners who choose not to jack up their homes could face radically more expensive flood insurance bills.
The meeting at 2 p.m. Saturday will be at 6501 Atlantic Ave. in Ventnor. That town’s mayor, Mike Bagnell, will be a guest. He’s a member of the Coastal Coalition, a group of shore town officials. They also maintain that many areas now designed as V zones are not likely to suffer wave damage.
“If the maps aren’t changed, that could be the death of every oceanic community in the state because you’ll see property values plummet in the areas and people won’t be able to sell them because nobody is going to buy them if the insurance is going to cost more than the house,” Bagnell said.
Stewart Farrell, director of the Coastal Research Center at Stockton College, says the overland wave modeling that’s now being conducted will consider things other than elevation that could make homes less vulnerable.
“They have to calculate what the effect is of the wave hitting obstacles, roads, trees, shrubbery, phragmites, bulkheads, the rows of houses themselves,” Farrell said.