Home > Uncategorized > Proposed Legislation Would Restrict “Right- to-Rebuild” Storm Damaged Property Along the Coast

Proposed Legislation Would Restrict “Right- to-Rebuild” Storm Damaged Property Along the Coast

NJ Laws Encourage Rebuilding In Same Vulnerable Locations

Major Reason For NJ’s Nationally High Repetitive Flood Loss Damage Claims

Bill Ignores Right-to-Rebuild In Inland Flood Hazard Zones

Repetitive Loss Properties, by County – Source: NJ Hazard Mitigation Plan (March 2014)

The Problem:

New Jersey’s guaranteed right to rebuild following storm damage stands out as a highly unusual provision, according to a Huffington Post review of coastal laws in more than a dozen states on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

North Carolina, for example, generally bars rebuilding in the same place after a structure is substantially damaged by a storm. Florida and Alabama typically require state reviews before approving the rebuilding of coastal structures damaged in major storms. Several other states, including South Carolina and Maine, require that property owners pull back from the ocean as much as possible following hurricane damage.

Experts describe New Jersey’s express right to rebuild as the single most significant impediment toward limiting the state’s vulnerability to future storms.

“The idea of putting it down on paper like that is strange, that’s not good,” said Orrin H. Pilkey, an emeritus professor of earth and ocean sciences at Duke University, who has probed the dangers of building near disappearing shorelines. “It gives you no flexibility. If people want to rebuild, they can.”  ~~~ Jersey Shore Development Failures Exposed By Hurricane Sandy

The Solution:

A bill (S62 – Barnes) that would rescind the so called “right to rebuild” storm damaged property in NJ’s Coastal Zone was approved by the Senate Environment Committee last week, with surprisingly little debate or opposition.

Republican Senator Thompson opposed the measure. He said it would create more bureaucracy and red tape and interfere with rebuilding.

The bill was supposed to be a companion to Senator Barnes far more ambitious bill (S64) to create a Coastal Commission. That bill would reduce the CAFRA review threshold from 24 units to just 3 residential units.

The Right-to-Rebuild bill’s effectiveness is severely limited as a stand alone measure, because it would apply to very few properties.

It makes little sense to revoke the storm damage rebuild exemption without closing the CAFRA 24 unit loophole.

NJ’s State coastal zone land use management law, known as CAFRA, exempts rebuilding of storm damaged properties from CAFRA permit requirements:

The reconstruction of any development that is damaged or destroyed, in whole or in part, by fire, storm, natural hazard or act of God, provided that such reconstruction is in compliance with existing requirements or codes of municipal, State and federal law

The CAFRA “right to rebuild” permit exemption, working in tandem with the CAFRA 24 unit loophole, strongly encourages rebuilding of storm damaged properties in the same footprint and in the same vulnerable location.

[Note: The Highlands Act (Section 30. (a) 4.) exempts reconstruction,  so that exemption would need to be repealed too.]

These loopholes that promote mindless rebuilding are a major reason why NJ has the Nation’s third highest repetitive flood loss insurance claims under the Federal Flood Insurance Program. According to the NJ Hazard Mitigation Plan:

There are approximately 245,806 NFIP policies in New Jersey. Of those policies, 16,017 are considered repetitive loss (RL) and 2,097 are considered severe repetitive loss (SRL).

So, just 6% of the properties create the large majority of the repetitive loss problem, with less than 1% severe repetitive loss.

Obviously, those properties hold not be rebuilt and should be targets of acquisition.

But, the Christie Administration’s “Blue Acres” and HUD CDBG acquisition plans are not specifically targeted at those repetitive loss properties.

So, current policy provides a big green regulatory exemption light to rebuilding in hazardous locations and does not target the most hazardous locations for acquisition – the worst of all worlds. Typically Christie incompetent governance.

Making matters even worse, these vulnerable repetitive loss properties are not all located along the coast in the CAFRA zone. See the map above and note that the majority are inland and at risk from river flooding, not coastal flooding.

Which takes me to my testimony on the bill.

CAFRA is not the only state law that allows and encourages rebuilding of flood and storm damaged property.

The Flood Hazard Area Control Act, which protects against river flood risks, contains a permit exemption very similar to CAFRA.

58:16A-55.1. Repair or rebuilding of lawful preexisting structure within flood hazard area

No rule or regulation adopted pursuant to section 4 or 7 of P.L. 1972, c. 185 (C. 58:16A-55 or 58) shall prevent the repair or rebuilding within a flood hazard area of any lawful preexisting structure which was damaged by a flood or by any other means.

Homes that are damaged or destroyed  by river flooding may be rebuilt without having to secure a DEP flood hazard permit.

That makes little sense and contributes to the repetitive loss problem.

So, I requested that the bill be amended to make the proposed policy under CAFRA uniform across the state.

Why should the reconstruction of storm damaged properties along the coast be subject to CAFRA permit requirements, while the rebuilding of storm damaged  inland properties are exempt from permit requirements?

Chairman Smith stated that he had discussed my proposed amendment with the sponsor, Senator Barnes, and they agreed that it would significantly expand the scope and applicability of the bill.

Smith then stated that the CAFRA bill would apply to virtually no one – after which he summarily rejected my proposed amendment.

I call bullshit on that.

Why waste time passing a bill that would apply so narrowly and have very little impact on the problem?

 

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
Comment pages
1 2 32864
  1. May 3rd, 2014 at 13:38 | #1
  2. June 24th, 2014 at 10:08 | #2
  3. April 18th, 2015 at 07:31 | #3
  4. April 24th, 2015 at 15:02 | #4
  5. April 24th, 2015 at 22:18 | #5
  6. April 25th, 2015 at 18:51 | #6
  7. May 5th, 2015 at 06:20 | #7
  8. May 21st, 2015 at 05:13 | #8
  9. May 22nd, 2015 at 14:11 | #9
  10. May 23rd, 2015 at 03:46 | #10
  11. May 26th, 2015 at 02:02 | #11
  12. May 29th, 2015 at 06:34 | #12
  13. June 3rd, 2015 at 22:22 | #13
  14. June 10th, 2015 at 13:54 | #14
  15. June 14th, 2015 at 10:44 | #15
  16. June 14th, 2015 at 12:06 | #16
  17. June 14th, 2015 at 12:48 | #17
  18. June 14th, 2015 at 14:36 | #18
  19. June 16th, 2015 at 13:22 | #19
  20. June 17th, 2015 at 01:49 | #20
  21. June 17th, 2015 at 06:26 | #21
  22. June 17th, 2015 at 23:14 | #22
  23. June 18th, 2015 at 04:19 | #23
  24. June 19th, 2015 at 05:52 | #24
  25. June 19th, 2015 at 15:57 | #25
  26. June 20th, 2015 at 18:42 | #26
  27. June 20th, 2015 at 22:55 | #27
  28. June 21st, 2015 at 13:37 | #28
  29. June 22nd, 2015 at 03:49 | #29
  30. June 22nd, 2015 at 16:23 | #30
  31. June 22nd, 2015 at 20:41 | #31
  32. June 23rd, 2015 at 08:21 | #32
  33. June 23rd, 2015 at 10:53 | #33
  34. June 24th, 2015 at 13:05 | #34
  35. June 25th, 2015 at 01:12 | #35
  36. June 25th, 2015 at 14:29 | #36
  37. June 25th, 2015 at 16:30 | #37
  38. June 25th, 2015 at 18:28 | #38
  39. June 26th, 2015 at 00:10 | #39
  40. June 26th, 2015 at 03:22 | #40
  41. June 26th, 2015 at 10:40 | #41
  42. June 26th, 2015 at 12:08 | #42
  43. June 26th, 2015 at 14:13 | #43
  44. June 27th, 2015 at 00:51 | #44
  45. June 27th, 2015 at 02:36 | #45
  46. June 27th, 2015 at 15:01 | #46
  47. June 27th, 2015 at 18:01 | #47
  48. June 28th, 2015 at 20:53 | #48
  49. June 28th, 2015 at 20:58 | #49
  50. July 2nd, 2015 at 04:03 | #50
  51. July 2nd, 2015 at 04:15 | #51
  52. July 2nd, 2015 at 13:46 | #52
  53. July 3rd, 2015 at 03:59 | #53
  54. July 3rd, 2015 at 07:48 | #54
  55. July 3rd, 2015 at 11:31 | #55
  56. July 3rd, 2015 at 12:44 | #56
  57. July 3rd, 2015 at 13:02 | #57
  58. July 4th, 2015 at 07:35 | #58
  59. July 4th, 2015 at 08:49 | #59
  60. July 4th, 2015 at 08:55 | #60
  61. July 4th, 2015 at 21:15 | #61
  62. July 4th, 2015 at 23:50 | #62
  63. July 5th, 2015 at 05:44 | #63
  64. July 5th, 2015 at 12:13 | #64
  65. July 5th, 2015 at 22:21 | #65
  66. July 5th, 2015 at 23:32 | #66
  67. July 6th, 2015 at 00:01 | #67
  68. July 6th, 2015 at 11:09 | #68
  69. July 6th, 2015 at 21:25 | #69
  70. July 6th, 2015 at 21:32 | #70
  71. July 7th, 2015 at 03:16 | #71
  72. July 7th, 2015 at 13:07 | #72
  73. July 7th, 2015 at 17:25 | #73
  74. July 7th, 2015 at 20:12 | #74
  75. July 8th, 2015 at 01:01 | #75
  76. July 8th, 2015 at 05:54 | #76
  77. July 9th, 2015 at 17:06 | #77
  78. July 9th, 2015 at 20:36 | #78
  79. July 10th, 2015 at 12:32 | #79
  80. July 10th, 2015 at 14:48 | #80
  81. July 10th, 2015 at 18:18 | #81
  82. July 11th, 2015 at 06:22 | #82
  83. July 11th, 2015 at 09:54 | #83
  84. July 12th, 2015 at 02:28 | #84
  85. July 12th, 2015 at 14:23 | #85
  86. July 12th, 2015 at 20:07 | #86
  87. July 13th, 2015 at 11:53 | #87
  88. January 27th, 2016 at 09:31 | #88
  89. September 19th, 2016 at 10:49 | #89
  90. November 7th, 2016 at 06:24 | #90
  91. January 26th, 2017 at 14:11 | #91
  92. April 5th, 2017 at 08:48 | #92
  93. April 13th, 2017 at 04:06 | #93
  94. January 28th, 2018 at 13:00 | #94
  95. February 8th, 2018 at 16:49 | #95
You must be logged in to post a comment.