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Council Approves Height Waiver for New and Existing Homes

Structures can exceed 35 feet from base flood elevation, according to ordinance

A revision to an ordinance waiving height restriction for Superstorm Sandy-damaged homes was amended to apply the new rules to both new and existing structures. 

In flood zones, property owners raising their homes now can be built up to 35 feet tall when measured from FEMA Base Flood Elevation, whether it is a new or existing structure. This will ensure that building heights among neighboring homes remain consistent, Township Engineer Robert Chankalian said after the Township Council approved the ordinance amendment Tuesday. 

"You could end up with up-and-down, so we said 'let's treat everyone the same,'" Chankalian said. "It makes it fair. Everyone gets the same sized house."

Councilman Jeffrey Carr, who is the chairman of the land use committee and worked on the ordinance, said that the ordinance and its amendment will help residents since they will not require a trip before Toms River's Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance to exceed 35 feet.

"This will help rebuild houses and meet the new flood regulations without getting variances," he said.

The initial ordinance, which was adopted in March allowed, only applied to existing homes that needed to be raised past 35 feet to satisfy the base flood elevation, Chankalian said. 

Planner Board members gave their approval to the amendment earlier in May. 

"We recognize that when people are rebuilding they want to avoid going through a variance process that are based on site conditions that are quite predictable," said township planner Jay Lynch when Planning Board members give their approval to the ordinance amendment.

If the flood maps are revised when the final versions are issued, property owners then would be restricted to the new Base Flood Elevation at that time, said Council President George Wittmann. Those who build now, according to the current ordinance, would not be required again to change the height of their home.

"There's no adverse affect to anyone. We try to accommodate the maps as they are now, not what they could be," Wittmann said. 

It remains unclear how final flood maps may change, but Wittmaan said it may be "a foot one way or the other."

The township is working on easing other building restrictions for Sandy-damage properties, including changes to setback regulations and deck construction. 

Martin May 15, 2013 at 11:20 AM
How about a waiver (for seniors, handicapped and others with less than $100,000 income) from FEMA's expensive elevation and annual premium mandates? Then 50% of the population can afford to stay in their homes at the Shore. StopFemaNow.com
foggyworld May 15, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Raising all houses may not be the smartest way to go. We were saturated by water but many storms are wind driven. The higher up you go, the more likely that wind can scoop your house off of any pilings dreamed of. This is a decades' old situation that is constantly being studied by the American Association of Architects and also by structural engineers. There is a balance that must be found and the broad brush painting of FEMA's zones is primarily based on their not all that good experience with southern, masonry built houses. They are NOT up-to-date on the east coast's main methods of building. This is a rush job based on obsolete and inaccurate data and their goal really is to either push us out or bail them and the NFIP out for the billions of dollars they already owe the Treasury for their gross mishandling of Katrina. Towns should simmer down and find some humility and start to read about what has and is going on. Height is not the entire solution: there really isn't one. With that height, FEMA wants to get rid of breakaway walls and vent systems which we have in our house and which worked perfectly. We came through dry but now FEMA would have us remove those controls. They don't know what they are doing!
john May 15, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Do we live in communism?Why are we forced to raise our home?I served two tours in vietnam fighting for freedom i come home and they are telling me and others what to do with your home.Freedom?
Chief Wahoo May 15, 2013 at 12:34 PM
You have to love when they prove that laws/rules are all just make believe. Anarcho-Capitalism.
Joe Salleroli May 15, 2013 at 12:55 PM
What's the use, FEMA is making the middle class income people sell and leave and soon only the rich will be able to afford the land and homes AKA The Hamptons. Maybe that is the base plan for money income from higher taxes for Toms River to benefit from. The future for the whole barrier Island is a complete makeover in 80% of the Island for high income to enjoy.
GreenIsland May 15, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Take a look at the new house being built on Bayview on Green Island. Not only is it on piles, but it is also a 3 story monstrosity! Is this what we really want? Waving the height restriction for everyone will in fcat cause the up and down our engineer is saying he will prevent!
Patrick J. May 15, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Look at how many homes are being re built AND look at how many homes are being raised at present. I would say at the most 5% of homes are being raised right now.
Michelle V May 15, 2013 at 01:19 PM
How about too little too late!! Most towns removed setback restrictions, ht restrictions and ability to build decks months ago which explains why people are rebuilding without permits!! TR has made rebuilding a nightmare....FOB!!!!
Ron May 15, 2013 at 03:50 PM
While I have not seen the actual revised ordinance it appears from the article that there's no top end on height. The sky's the limit so to speak. This is what we now have on Bayview Drive in Green Island. This house is 4 stories and tops out at well over 45'. Obviously township engineer Chankalian and counsilman Carr did their research from behind a desk to come to their conclusions.
jaime May 15, 2013 at 03:58 PM
dont for get if your section 8 you have a right to live at the shore lol
jaime May 15, 2013 at 03:58 PM
if that
Paul May 15, 2013 at 04:00 PM
I agree Michelle. Why the dribble from the TR council? They say they are trying to make it easier to rebuild but they are looking at one issue at a time. It been 6 1/2 months. This goes to show the incompetence of our local officials.
jaime May 15, 2013 at 04:01 PM
maybe and just maybe they both were under the desk making their conclusions!!!!!!!
dainty May 15, 2013 at 04:18 PM
I LOVE THIS IDEA!!! Martin 4 hours ago How about a waiver (for seniors, handicapped and others with less than $100,000 income) from FEMA's expensive elevation and annual premium mandates? Then 50% of the population can afford to stay in their homes at the Shore. StopFemaNow.com
Wilda May 15, 2013 at 04:24 PM
@Foggyworld: where did you read or hear that FEMA wants to get rid of breakaway foundation walls and vents ? The paperwork I've read all say they want breakaway walls....have things changed very recently ? Good grief...nothing is reliable.
Noise May 15, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Ditto Michelle V. and Paul. Most towns are bending over backwards to allow residents to get back in their homes. Seems simple enough. Basically, if it was there before the storm go ahead and rebuild. If you had a variance the variance is carried over. If the zoning has changed, honor the zoning in place when the residence was constructed. "The township is working on easing other building restrictions for Sandy-damage properties, including changes to setback regulations and deck construction". Does the council realize it has been over six months? You cannot keep single threading these ordinance thru. Obviously there are building codes and issues of safety but that is why you have all these inspectors. If they find a problem in the field it can be addressed with the homeowner then.
Patti K May 17, 2013 at 12:17 PM
They had better work quicker on the 'setbacks and deck construction' You may be able to raise your house but will not be able to get in it without an extension ladder. Until all falls in place no one will rebuild or raise their home!

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