Some residents in Ocean County have yet to rebuild due to conflict with FEMA.
Six months after Sandy, residents of Ocean County, New Jersey are still living in limbo. Last December, FEMA introduced maps advising people to raise their homes to certain heights based on flood risk, but the maps are controversial. Many residents with bay or lagoon front property are frustrated because these maps hold them to the same costly construction standard as ocean front homes.
Governor Chris Christie adopted these maps back in January, but FEMA has plans to revise these advisory base flood elevation maps and release new ones with new specifications by late summer. The confusion over what happens next has led some residents to take the “wait and see” approach.
Margret Quinn is one such resident.
"You can't put tens of thousands of people at a risk for an ocean wave when none of us are living on the ocean."
Quinn’s two-story home on the water was damaged by Sandy, and she just moved back in. But the ground floor remains bare and unlivable. Quinn says she cannot afford the estimated $150,000 to rebuild to FEMA’s specifications.
Quinn is also an advisory board member of the advocacy group “Stop FEMA Now,” a grass-roots organization formed to fight the flood maps. Founder George Kasimos is also a waterfront property owner whose home was severely flooded.
"They need to get every flood expert out here in New York and New Jersey, rectify our maps as soon as possible ... We cannot rebuild until that's done."
Representatives from FEMA say they expect to have revised maps ready by August.