Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.


Our community pillars help us carry out our 100-Year Vision

Check it out

Non-profit Organization

Red Bank River Center

The Red Bank River Center promotes local merchants, recruits new businesses, stages vibrant downtown events, and beautifies our streetscapes.

Learn More
organization-banner
organization-banner

RUMSON UPS FLOOR LEVELS IN FLOOD ZONES

Blue markers on an aerial view of Rumson indicate homes that were damaged by floods during Hurricane Sandy. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rumson became the first town on the Green to change its building standards in the wake of Hurricane Sandy when it boosted minimum first-floor levels in flood zones Tuesday night.

After storm-driven tides sent surges as high as 12 feet into homes along the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers, the borough council approved a zoning change that sets a new minimum level of 13 feet above base flood elevations in waterfront zones, replacing minimums of eight, nine and 10 feet.

The changes, and a pledge to revisit the ordinance after the Federal Emergency Management Administration issues new elevation guidelines, expected within the next two weeks, mostly drew praise from residents who said their efforts to resolve insurance claims and rebuild their homes would have been stalled by inaction.

“People need to tell their insurance companies” what the Rumson standard is “so they can decide whether to stay and rebuild, raise their homes or move,” said borough Administrator Tom Rogers. “We’re trying to help them.”

“We wanted to be the first town out there” with new flood-prevention regulations, said Mayor John Ekdahl.

The new flood level follows a survey by borough Engineer David Marks, of T&M Associates, of 49 Rumson homes damaged by flooding. He found water levels cresting at heights of 8 to 12.5 feet, he reported.

The amendment actually calls for finished first floors of 13 feet above base flood elevations or the FEMA standard, whichever is higher. But several residents noted that the FEMA regs could come in below 13 feet. Because insurers apply the local standard, owners of homes that meet the lower FEMA standard but not Rumson’s could find themselves paying vastly higher insurance rates, if they can obtain coverage, said Peter Engle, an engineer who lives on Center Street.

“If we’re setting 13 feet and FEMA comes in substantially lower, there may be a number of homes that will have dramatically higher insurance rates,” said Engle. “I think we want to be careful. There’s no magic to 13, and we may cause a lot of people to pay a lot more in insurance.”

After some discussion, council members agreed to re-evaluate the ordinance as soon as the FEMA standard is announced. Meantime, Tom Mullens, of Wilson Circle, and several other residents thanked the governing body for not leaving them hanging for another month in homes whose insulation had to be ripped out because of water damage..

Officials said that homeowners in the flood zones who wish to raise their homes will get expedited treatment in the approval process, as long as they are not expanding the footprints on their property or worsening an existing case of non-compliance.

Other residents raised questions about the effect of the change on grading an drainage of properties. Joanne Molnar, of Waterman Avenue, said a retaining wall that “holds the integrity of my house” had been destroyed, and elevating her home would impact the grading of her property and the height of the wall.

“The contents of Sea Bright basically slammed into my back yard,” she said.

She and others were encouraged to attend an information session at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Forrestdale School, where FEMA representatives will be joined by Small Business Administration officials and the borough building inspector to field inquiries.

The flood-elevation amendment was accompanied by new overall height limits on structures throughout town, a change that was in the works two months before Sandy hit on October 29 and was triggered by concerns about seasonal groundwater levels, not tidal issues, Rogers said.

Homes will now be permitted to rise as high as 35 and 40 feet, depending on the zones they’re in. Steeper roof slopes are also permitted than in the past.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank business owner happier than to hear "I saw your ad on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
SOGGY NOTION
RED BANK: Breezeway sculpture captured the mood downtown as heavy rains fell Saturday morning.
HOME DELIVERY
RED BANK: After a subdivision, an instant house rises on a new Catherine Street lot.
COMMUNITY PROFILES
For Black History Month, Red Bank's Community Engagement and Equity Advisory Committee has been running a series of local profiles on Facebo ...
HEARTY FAREWELL FOR HARDY
RED BANK: Council to honor DPU supervisor Rich Hardy, who retired recently after almost 39 years of keeping things running.
HOMEBOUND? READ ON…
RED BANK: Can't get to the public library? It's now offering free delivery and pickups for homebound borough residents.
TAMING A BEAST OF A WEEK
RED BANK: After the second snowfall of the week, a borough family finds the perfect use for it – a Godzilla snow sculpture.
RED BANK: LIBRARY CLOSED, BUT THE HILL’S OPEN
RED BANK: Though the library was closed by a snowstorm, kids got to enjoy the riverfront property's steep slope Tuesday.
LIGHT(HOUSE) MAKEOVER
This year, getting ready for spring means a midwinter makeover for Strollo's Lighthouse in Red Bank.
TODAY: LOCAL PUPPY COMPETES ON ANIMAL PLANET’S “PUPPY BOWL”
Red Bank’s very own rescue puppy, Biscuit, is set to compete in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl this Sunday, February 11, at 2 PM. Th ...
WHAT? NO redbankgreen NEWSLETTER?
Apologies to redbankgreen newsletter subscribers: the daily email hasn’t gone out for two days because of technical issues.
RED BANK: TIRED OF SKEETERS?
RED BANK: Tired of mosquito bites every summer? Monmouth County has a free program to help eliminate skeeter breeding grounds.
SEA BRIGHT: POLAR PLUNGE FOR ST. JAMES, OTHERS
Hundreds braved the wind and sea on Sunday at 1PM in support of St. James Elementary School, and other Catholic schools in the area. The eve ...
RED BANK: RBR CLAIMS TITLE
RED BANK: Watch pure joy as the RBR boys basketball team celebrates its first B North championship in 17 years.
RED BANK: FORGET-IT FRIDAY
RED BANK: Train Station can be a lonely place Friday mornings, especially with cold rain in the forecast.
RED BANK: CROONING YOUR LOVE
RED BANK: Imagine a quartet of impeccably dressed gentlemen showing up at your beloved's workplace, singing of your love.
RED BANK: BLACK RIVER ROLLS ON
RED BANK: A 68-year-old rail freight engine can still be counted on to draw a trainspotting fan or two when it rolls through town.
RED BANK: ‘MONDAY SWEAT’ MEETS
RED BANK: Joined by the Hazlet Running Club, members of the Red Bank Run Club met for their "Monday Sweat" at Count Basie Field.
RED BANK: CARD SALE BOOSTS GYM DRIVE
RED BANK: Charter School Foundation offers student-deisgned Valentines cards to help raise funds for a gymnasium.
RED BANK: LOVE IS IN THE… WINDOW
RED BANK: Up next: Valentine's Day, and Partyline finds the Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe getting ready for a surge of love and craving.
CLOSING THE BOOK ON A GREAT CAREER
The Red Bank mayor and council honored with a resolution Linda Hewitt (in red) on her retirement from the Red Bank Public Library at Thursda ...