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Sandy blow to NJ: costly work or costlier premiums

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013

Government grants of up to $30,000 are available to help offset the cost of elevating homes. But some homeowners say they need to start work now, which means fronting the money themselves and hoping for reimbursement later. Chuck Appleby of Seaside Park is one of them.

"The cost of raising my house is $60,000," he said. "It's easy to say that's just two years of what you would pay in higher insurance costs, but if you don't have that kind of money, you're stuck."

Appleby has been unemployed since May 2011 when the U.S. Army's Fort Monmouth closed and transferred its remaining jobs to Maryland. Since then he's been living on savings, which have rapidly dwindled since the storm as he and his family live in a rental.

And his parents, who live nearby, have no plans to raise their home. He says they're in for a shock.

"Their entire annual income is about $30,000," he said. "I don't know what people like them are going to do."

Christie said there will be government assistance programs set up with some of the federal storm aid expected to go up for a U.S. Senate vote Monday. He also said a main goal is to make sure the Jersey shore remains affordable.

Yet he said there's a certain amount of expense and pain that people are going to have to absorb.

"I'm doing the best I can to help folks," Christie said. "But the government cannot be the guarantor of a good result for everyone. I can't fix every problem. Any politician who gets behind a mic and tells you they can fix every problem is a liar."

The advisory maps issued by FEMA in December show the flooding risk is much greater than was projected when the current maps came out in the 1980s. They also expand the area where forceful waves are considered a risk.

Homes that used to be in a less-dangerous zone and are now in the velocity zone considered susceptible to the force of pounding waves could have to pay $31,000 annually in flood insurance costs, the governor said.

But if those same homeowners rebuilt to the higher recommended elevations, their insurance premiums would be about $7,000, and if they chose to go 2 feet higher than the new standard, which varies by location, they would pay about $3,500 a year, Christie said.


Wayne Parry can be reached at