UPDATE: Christie Predicts FEMA Will Scale Back Flood Maps

Governor provides update on rebuilding, with focus on flood maps and Blue Acres buyout, and plenty of anecdotes

Gov. Chris Christie predicted the Federal Emergency Management Agency will scale back tough new flood maps it issued last December, according to news reports.

Those maps place many more properties in flood zones, requiring many of them to be elevated if their owners don't want to see flood insurance rates soar, according to reports.

The initial FEMA flood which could create thousands more in insurance premiums and have residents raising their houses feet off the ground, are "too aggressive," said Gov. Christie at Thursday's town hall meeting.

He was addressing a packed crowd of officials and residents in the Hurricane Sandy damaged town of Manasquan, and Christie returned to the complicated and controversial topic of what would happen with flood maps and how to rebuild the Jersey Shore.

"This initial map has been too aggressive," said Christie, referring to areas of land and the suggested heights property in those zones would be raised.

Christie's town hall event filled Manasquan High School, as the governor pushed for the adoption of "fair" base flood elevation maps in place of those adopted this winter.

As many towns and freeholders contest FEMA's current the governor opened today's town hall with comments on the push to create a safer New Jersey, one where waterfront communities wouldn't face catastrophic damage like that seen after Hurricane Sandy.

"We'll have a continued fight to get the fairest flood maps in place," Christie said.

But balancing that with maps that make sense is a priority, Christie told a receptive crowd, a crowd that laughed at his personal anecdotes and applauded his comments of resolve.

After an opening speech focusing on Hurricane Sandy rebuilding in the long term, and some shared anecdotes about his mother in law, Gov. Christie began to take audience questions at the town hall today in Manasquan.

Those audience questions were dominated by personal issues locals faced in trying to navigate post-Hurricane Sandy life. Residents from Bayville, Mantoloking, Brielle, and Manasquan asked "What do I do?" and shared their specific issues, looking to the governor for help.

In many cases, he answered with the specific names of cabinet members and departments that could help — the Department of Banking and Insurance, or the governor's Office of Constituent Services, for example.

For other answers, the governor gave his stance on the importance of dunes, and having them in place regardless of the "view."

Along the shore in places such as Long Beach Island and barrier island Toms River, some homeowners are disputing easements to build dunes.

"I’m not taking the property, but I’m not going to react kindly to people who complain about losing their view," he said of the dune easement issue. "We give up some of our own freedoms to make things better for society, I don’t think views of the ocean should be constitutionally excluded from that."

The governor closed with emphasis that the Jersey Shore will be open for summer 2013, maybe not just as it was, but with a show of heart.

"For many places in our state it will never be the same, but it could be better than before," he said.

Patty Bulletin March 24, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Enough already ? Is this ever going to end ? I wonder how much change will have taken place when sandy turns a year old ! Katrina occured 7 years ago and their not done rebuilding. How long do you plan on waiting ? Is a view that important ? Not to me.
tlc March 24, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Quote : Is a view that important ? Let me change this a little to help you understand Is a HOME that important? YES
foggyworld March 24, 2013 at 03:41 PM
The Governor signed a blank check that relieved him of any responsibility and as a result he is now a non-player in the destiny of the NJ Shore. He ought to be treated accordingly. He has thrown the middle class to the lions at FEMA.
foggyworld March 24, 2013 at 03:43 PM
GB Shore - Cuomo and the other involved governors are active participants in the rebuilding of their Sandy damaged areas. They did NOT roll over to Fema and yet those states are getting money we on the ground don't see in NJ.
proud March 24, 2013 at 04:16 PM
@ clamdigger, prior to the release of the preliminary maps expected in August, municipalities that are NFIP participants will be provided with a work map to identify "obstructions" to wave activity within their boundaries. It is to the benefit of the municipalities and their residents to provide FEMA with "solid" information that can be included in the overland wave propagation component of the forthcoming maps. The "advisory" maps (ABFE) are void in this regard. Without correct information, the maps will be inaccurate and could result in huge increases in flood insurance in a vast portion of our region. Thae impact of that will severely damage an already battered economy, and that will affect EVERYONE, not just those in the flood plain (SFHA).. Correct mapping that includes obstructions in ALL communities and a continuous dune system on the barrier islands may be the only saving grace, unless, of course, residents are content with waiting twenty, thirty, or fifty years for the "shore" to gentrify or re-gentrify, as it were.


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