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Overcrowding Forces Cops to Halt 'Stop FEMA Now' Meeting

The Saturday afternoon meeting changed venues once but was shut down by Toms River police after large crowds showed up.

A meeting by a grassroots organization dedicated to opposing the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) flood maps was shut down by Toms River police Saturday after being overwhelmed by large crowds.

The group, Stop FEMA Now, is hoping its unified voice will reach elected officials and encourage them to speak out against FEMA's Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps, which were recently adopted by the State. If the maps aren't changed, thousands of residents along New Jersey's coasts will be required to elevate their homes or face potentially financially-crippling flood insurance premiums in the years go come.

After its meeting last week saw about 25 people show up to Belly Busters Subs for a brief discussion, organizers were optimistic about the group moving forward, hopeful that it would gain more traction and attract a larger crowd.

They didn't expect this.

About 100 people crowded into the frozen yogurt shop next door to the sub shop, packing every inch of the place and forcing more still to be turned away at the door. With the parking lot full, residents from Toms River, Brick, and other coastal communities parked their cars in far away lots, making the dangerous trek along the road's narrow shoulders in the rain down.

Others ignored the boulevard's posted "No Stopping" signs and simply parked on the side of the road.

An apologetic Toms River Police Department Chief Michael Mastronardy asked the crowd to end the meeting quickly to ensure that the residents' safety wasn't compromised.

"We want you to meet safely," he said. "Let's get a safe location. Whatever information you have to get out, get it out as quick as possible.

Several officers were on hand helping direct traffic and even closing off turning lanes to accommodate the crowd. Police were patient and helpful, even offering residents a lift to their far-away parked cars, and organizers said they held no ill will for the shut down.

"We just need to get a safe venue for you and do this right," Mastronardy said. 

Stop FEMA Now organizer George Kasimos said the crowd was larger than anticipated. About 20 people RSVP'd, he said, with the majority showing up after learning about the meeting online and in a recent Patch article.

For the group's next meeting, one that has already been set for March 9 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Kasimos said he plans on finding a much larger location to house the crowd. Now, he's just got to find it.

To stay up to date with Stop FEMA Now meeting times and locations, visit the group's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stopfemanow or visit www.stopfemanow.com.

For a video recap of Saturday's meeting, check back with Patch Sunday.

Missing Brick February 25, 2013 at 03:21 AM
If we really want to stop FEMA, we need a whole bunch of lawyers. Engineers are great and I'm sure will agree that the zones are not what they should be, but the power comes from being able to litigate that and make it cost a whole lot of money to ram this non-sense down our throats. If 170,000 effected homes file suit, then they will listen...a lot more so than even to 100 meetings that barely get a media blink. We need some well known lawyers to step up. R
Wendie February 25, 2013 at 05:39 AM
If you build to the highest recommendation your premiums will still increase 400%
proud February 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Anyone else out there have horror stories about how, if adopted, the "advised" base flood elevations will force them out of their homes? wee.stopfemanow.com
Xavier February 25, 2013 at 01:03 PM
I've never been a big fan of Christie but the Parkway toll increases were enacted by Corzine. Christie said they couldn't be rolled back due to bonds that were sold in anticipation of the revenue increase. From what I've read, it's true.
Martin February 25, 2013 at 02:43 PM
There's talk of a class-action suit by bayside and mainland property owners who were flooded by Sandy and could be hit again. No one's ocean view is more important than our personal safety and our most important assets -- our homes. Building dunes and replenishing beaches would be CHEAPER and MORE EFFECTIVE than raising tens of thousands of homes for a few billion dollars. It's physically impossible to raise many homes, even if each owner had a spare $100,000 lying around. That, and the alternative of $30,000-a-year insurance premiums, would result in mass abandonment of the Shore. FEMA has created another multi-billion-dollar bungle! FEMA is expanding flood zones. Near rivers, lakes, bays, coast-to-coast, up to 25% of all Americans will be in its bureaucratic jurisdiction -- with similar “overkill” rules and expenses -- unless we Stop FEMA Now. Facebook.com/StopFemaNow ==> Next meeting March 9th, 3 PM <== at a bigger site to accommodate the crowd. Bring a friend.
Rich Wieland February 25, 2013 at 03:00 PM
There will be a DEP public hearing a week from Thursday -- MARCH 7TH -- in Long Branch (5:30 PM, Municipal Bldg., 344 Broadway) about Gov. Christie's adoption of the FEMA rules. Speak out about the hardships FEMA is causing. Help us prevent the abandonment of tens of thousands of homes that physically can't be raised, that their owners can't afford to raise, and that will have exorbitant annual insurance costs -- all based on errroneous maps. ==> StopFemaNow.com
A Resident February 25, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Class-action suit....against who?
Jersey born February 25, 2013 at 03:31 PM
I was born in nj and moved out. I don't blame FEMA for doing their job. I don't understand what the problem is with those living on the water or close to the water. NJ taxes go up after every storm.... If you want to live their then go by the rules or get out!!! I grew up on the water and would never want a house there to worry about the next storm that will wipe out my home and personal belongings, yet alone my memories...... If you have the balls to live there, then have the balls to do what you have to do to keep your house safe and stop whining... The water houses are for the rich that can afford to live there
Cathy Boland February 25, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Lovely thought but it won't work. If you do not submit a timely "declaration page" from your insurance policy to your bank or mortgage company, they will issue a policy for you using their own insurance brokerage. The premium will be at least double and maybe triple the cost if you provided your own coverage. If you don't pay for their policy, they will not apply your mortgage payments to your loan.
Rick February 25, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Paula, Why are you asking that question here? The posters here have no more idea of what is going on than you do. I'm sure these people can give you several conflicing answers based on rumor, speculation, poltical and just plain WAGs.
Alan February 25, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Are you kidding? For the rich, what are you talking about? I live in Silverton very much the main land. In a small ranch on the lagoon we bought a few years ago for $250,000, on a 50-100 ft lot. What rich are you talking about, there are homes off the water in TR going for 500k and up. Get your story straight, yea maybe Bay Head, Mantoloking and such. But not here, this area is mainly blue collar, as I am.
Martin February 25, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Oceanfront mansions = 1% of homes, "the rich" as you call thnem. They have views not obstructed by dunes. The other 99% of homes (from the barrier island, all around Barnegat Bay and on the mainland (including my Silverton house) were flooded because there were no dunes or inadequate dunes, and insufficient beach replenishment. Our properties and our lives are more important than the precious ocean views of an elite few who won't sign easements. Use eminent domain and build dunes and beef up beaches. After "the rich" raise their mansions 13 feet, they'll have views again.
Sue February 25, 2013 at 07:57 PM
FEMA should build dunes and build up eroded beaches, rather than force tens of thousands of homeowners to either raise their houses or pay big bucks every year for insurance that doesn't seem to pay its claims. Protective dunes and beaches would prevent flooding. Without them, only the few raised houses would (maybe) survive the next big storm. Dunes and beaches are cheaper and more effective than FEMA's draconian scheme that will bankrupt the Shore.
Paul K. February 25, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Well kind of a story. We had problems paying our mortage on the current home we live in. Were way behind in payments, the bank really did not want to work with us for any kind of a modifiaction of the mortgage, was being real tough with us . Long story short, our house got ruined by Sandy in Oct. NOW our bank wants to modify our loan, wants us to stay here, wants us to rebuild, does not want us to walk away, does not want us to live here and not pay for years. Can you believe this now all of a sudden, Chase wants to speed up the process to keep us here and modilfy the mortgage?
Wendie February 25, 2013 at 08:27 PM
'Beach Nourishment' is not an authorized hazard mitigation technique according to the Biggert Waters Act. You guys should really read it. You're also going to have a permanent deed restriction on your property if you accept a hazard mitigation grant. That means the property will HAVE to have flood insurance through the NFIP forever, no matter what, at whatever exorbitant rates they decide - mortgage or not. This is a hose job and throwing our neighbors under the bus is not the solution so stop doing it. Disputing the maps is a waste of time and accepting hazard mitigation money will devalue our properties even more. We must reject this unilaterally. I personally couldn't care less if FEMA never sets foot in NJ again.
proud February 25, 2013 at 11:03 PM
@bg robbins, I don't remember anyone from www.stopfemanow.com leading people to believe they don't need flood insurance. I do, however, believe that a property owner should have a choice as to whether or not they elect to have flood insurance--and affordable flood insurance at that, and not be blacklisted if their choose otherwise.
re-tired February 25, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Get into real estate sales , asking around my neighborhood more than half of the homeowners in my area are selling before the new regulations go into effect .Better to leave than be slowly bled into bankruptcy , we can`t afford to rebuild to the new "scientific " maps standards so the already vacant neighborhood is likely to get even bleaker looking." Jersey Empty " killed by fema ............
proud February 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM
@ Rick, how could anyone know what is actually going on. The book is still being written. It's a mystery, a horror story--sometimes comical,--and, a tragedy all in one. Hard working people that have invested in shore communities elsewhere are in search of a happy ending. There's no place like home.
proud February 25, 2013 at 11:49 PM
@ Nautigal, I tried to read the Biggert-Waters act, and had a difficulty deciphering the nomenclature. So, I read several credible interpretations, and what I discovered is that the "act" gave the NFIP five more years of shelf life. Let's hope that history does not repeat itself, and it goes away. If it doesn't it will have plenty of company. Let's multilaterally www.stopfemanow.com
Bayville Mom February 26, 2013 at 01:15 AM
My husband and I would have been at the meeting. We saw ALL of the cars while we were driving to the FEMA office to sign for our SBA loan that we are taking to elevate our significantly damaged home since our insurance is STILL playing games. Keep us posted on the new location for the next meeting Please!!
Penny February 26, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Sell what may I ask? My family owns a Colonial type home on the lagoon three bedrooms 2 bath. Its was sustantialy damaged by Sandy. The first floor is gutted right now and we are in the Velocity "V" zone now. It has to be raised on pilings and we are on a slab. We owe roughly Three hundred and eighty five thousand dollars on the mortgage The three estimates to raise it are all over $75.000 and our used to be first floor is only a shell and will cost I guess at least $60,000 to rebuild. So what would I sell my home for? Who in their right mind would even pay the $385,000 left on the note, knowing it must be raised and rebuilt and the unknow high flood rates???????????
proud February 26, 2013 at 02:14 AM
Well, ya'll come back now, ya hear? @Bayville Mom, Come meet the REAL people Everyday people just like you, let's visit @ www.stopfemanow.com for information about our next meeting coming soon to a theater near YOU!
Rick February 26, 2013 at 05:34 AM
You are right Mr Proud. But getting several different wrong answers only adds to the confusion and frustration.
proud February 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM
@Rick, hopefully the correct answers will evolve.
Martin February 26, 2013 at 04:27 PM
We should be offered 105% of pre-flood home values by FEMA & Gov. Christie, too! "Gov. Cuomo said yesterday that 169 of 192 residents of Staten Island’s storm devastated Oakwood Beach have taken him up on his offer to buy out their Sandy-ravaged homes. "The people who live in the battered neighborhood have been enticed by a deal that will pay them 100 percent of their damaged home’s prestorm market value — plus 5 percent if the homeowners stay on Staten Island, Cuomo said. The feds will pick up 75 percent of the tab."
Johnjcpa February 26, 2013 at 04:39 PM
Got tinfoil? The FEMA shelter camp taped in the accompanying video link is home for victims of Sandy and is located in Oceanport, New Jersey. This camp is taking on the look of permanence as it contains 40 acres of emergency housing and is located in the parking lot of a race track. The camp is complete with hot meals and hot showers
Rick February 27, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Yes, but with all the rumors and WAGs getting spread around, how will anyone know what the correct answers are?
re-tired February 27, 2013 at 03:48 AM
FEMA now trying to impose v-zone flood maps on new york city up to world trade center..On channel 5 news tonight .one proposal was to eliminate 1st floors in apartment buildings from occupancy .I guess the subways will have to be elevated again .And so the brain trust goes.................
proud February 27, 2013 at 04:46 AM
@Rick, then"correct" answers will be a product of correct questions and not uncertain scenarios used by the various government entities to scare property owners into hasty and non qualified decisions. Just let me know what the game is, and I'll let you know my response. But, if you think that I'm just going to sign off the American Dream to some yet be determined, fill In the blank policies, that may or not happen is unacceptable. Now, there are problems-- let's focus on solutions, and not trusting FEMA to dictate what is best for me. The process is not trustworthy.
grace March 07, 2013 at 03:25 PM
great job organizing! thanks we need the help any way we can get it

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