Cape May County property owners have been relying on FEMA's advisory maps, which were released in late 2012. Those maps were "intentionally" conservative and placed more areas in 'V' zones than necessary, said Bill McDonnell, FEMA's mitigation branch director for New Jersey.
Coastal areas prone to flooding are generally divided between 'A' and 'V' zones. Those in 'A' zones may elevate or build structures using block foundations, while those in 'V' zones must account for the potential for flowing water to impact their homes by raising them on pilings, which are more costly than block foundations. Flood insurance is also significantly more expensive for residents whose homes are located in the 'V' zones.
"These new maps drastically reduce – by over half in some towns – the number of properties in the V zone, and will give homeowners the certainty they need to rebuild stronger than ever and will help thousands avoid having to make prohibitively expensive modifications," said U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez in a statement.
Coastal residents can find general information on flood maps, plus updated maps for those who live in areas where they have been released, at FEMA's region two website.
— Patch editor Daniel Nee contributed to this story.