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The Accuracy of Floodplain Zoning in New Jersey

Posted May 29, 2018

New Jersey underwent a barraged with a series of devastating winter storms, hurricanes, and floods in recent years.

Hurricane Sandy topped the list at an estimated cost of $30 billion in damages, according to Flood zones increase in size as more devastating storms increase in severity. However, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) frequently uses out-of-date and incorrect maps that place certain homeowners and business owners in high-risk flood zones. FEMA’s flood zone maps dictate flood insurance premiums for those landowners. They also mandate some landowners to purchase flood insurance. If your home or business was incorrectly labeled as being in a flood zone, you may be culpable for unneeded large insurance premiums.

FEMA Maps Mislead Countless Households Across The U.S.

According to research by ProPublica, 5.5 million Americans pay for flood insurance provided by the federal government. Nonetheless, the floodplain maps used by FEMA are often completely inaccurate. This inaccuracy stems from massive underfunding of the agency. Resulting in some landowners placed in a high-risk flood zone when they live up on a hill. While not placing others on the map who do live or own a business in a high-risk flood zone.

Report Reveals Inaccuracy of Current Flood Zones

According to a 2017 New Jersey Realtors Governmental Research Foundation report, New Jersey is at a very high risk of future floods. These risk sources include storm surge, overbank river flooding, and poor drainage. Zone V areas, zones set by FEMA, allegedly only have a one percent chance of annual flooding. Yet many Zone V areas flooded during Hurricane Sandy. Furthermore, storms often occur that cause flooding in Zone V areas near the coast. Exposing the inaccuracy of these FEMA maps. The report goes on to say how inaccurate the FEMA zoning is. As well as, how the zones are really only used to indicated which properties must purchase flood insurance. Along with what those premiums should be and which structures must abide by certain flood zone building guides.

Call a Red Bank Lawyer

If your property is listed in a FEMA floodplain that you know is inaccurate, you may need the assistance of an attorney to avoid paying hefty flood insurance premiums that you do not need. Similarly, if you are planning to build in a flood zone, you’re usually required to build to special flood zone codes. The Red Bank zoning and real estate attorneys of Foss, San Filippo & Milne, LLC can answer all of your questions today. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information.