Assemblyman Ramos tells FEMA that structures in Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken can’t be raised
Mar 11, 2013 | 3203 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOBOKEN -- Thursday, Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. (D-33) gave testimony at a public meeting held by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection regarding the adoption of rules concerning the building and reconstruction of homes in flood hazard areas designated by updated maps by FEMA. The meeting, held in Long Branch, was held to accept public comment on the maps and proposed amendments. Ramos spoke in favor of an amendment allowing flood-proofing measures to be used instead of elevating structures.

Ramos has announced that he will face Mayor Dawn Zimmer in November’s mayoral election. Zimmer has also spoken about proposed changes to FEMA rules.

"At least 50 percent of my district has been designated as a flood hazard zone that requires individual action toward damage prevention," said Ramos. "Hoboken, Jersey City and Weehawken is comprised of several decades-old brownstones, converted industrial buildings and townhomes, and business strips that simply cannot be raised. These structures are a large part of makes the Gold Coast place a unique place to visit, live and conduct business and unfairly imposing higher insurance rates on local property owner is unconscionable."

The state has adopted FEMA’s flood zone maps, which make recommendations on structures in what the federal government deems a flood prone area. Areas with a higher risk for flooding come with more restrictions as well as higher insurance premiums. New structures may have to be elevated higher than in the past.

The National Flood Insurance Agency is offering help to homeowners to raise their houses to comply with the new flood maps, but equal help is not being provided for those who are using other flood-proofing measures during reconstruction of homes and businesses following Hurricane Sandy, according to a press release from Ramos’ office.

Ramos said, "It is public taxpayer money that is going to help those raising their homes; that public taxpayer money should also go to those flood-proofing the homes that physically cannot be raised. What works for the Jersey Shore won’t work for cities like Hoboken and Jersey City, and I’m hopeful we can apply some common-sense solutions that help all of New Jersey’s taxpayers."

The DEP does not have any further hearings scheduled to solicit public input on the adoption of the FEMA flood maps, though comments can be submitted online until March 21.

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