Zimmer said in her testimony that the estimated damage to Hoboken is well over $100 million.
“Hurricane Sandy was devastating for Hoboken, our businesses and our residents,” Zimmer said. “For the first time in history, the Hudson River spilled into Hoboken from the north and south, flooding more than half our city. Our community center, public works garage, three of our four fire houses, and more than 1700 homes flooded. We estimate the total damage to our community at well over $100 million.”
Zimmer also said in her testimony that the insurance definition of “basement” has hurt many Hoboken residents and business who have garden apartment dwellings. Zimmer said that the “flood insurance trap” has forced many to buy the flood insurance, but has not helped them.
“When businesses located in a flood zone buy their properties, they are forced to purchase flood insurance by their mortgage companies. But the Flood Insurance Program treats garden-style businesses as if they were “basements.” And under FEMA’s definition of a “basement,” the coverage is greatly limited to only include things like the boiler, hot water tanks, and electrical control panels,” she said.
Zimmer also said that people with vacation homes are reaping $250,000 checks for homes at the shore but businesses and main residences continue to fall through the cracks. Zimmer urged Congress to take action.
“In the immediate term, I strongly urge Congress to provide direct assistance for businesses and residents caught in the flood insurance trap. Specifically, I ask you to take action to address the unfair basement issue for the future,” Zimmer said in her testimony.