RUMSON: AU REVOIR, V-ZONE

A home on Warren Street in Rumson undergoing elevation in February. (Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

All homes in storm-battered Rumson have been moved out of the most vulnerable flood zone under new flood-elevation maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Monday.

Mayor John Ekdahl says the revised maps are significantly different than the advisory maps released back in December.

“One of the things that becomes apparent as it effects Rumson is that we virtually lost all “V” zones,” Ekdahl said. “Even Barley Point [Island}, where we lost four homes, was removed.”

Homes in the high-risk “zone V” must be elevated on pilings, an expensive task for residents still reeling more than seven months after Hurricane Sandy.

Recommended flood elevations were reduced a foot or two on average in Rumson’s flood-prone areas, said Ekdahl. “In some cases we went from 12 feet to 10 feet,” he said.

Rumson was the first town on the Green to act on preliminary elevation guidelines last December, when FEMA released its advisory maps,  vastly expanding the V zone in coastal towns. Homes in those zones are required to elevate on pilings or higher foundations in order to be insurable against storm damage. But many homeowners complained their properties were included in the zones despite never having been significantly flooded.

In adopting those standards, Rumson officials said they were acting to give flooded-out homeowners guidelines for rebuilding, and that changes to the ordinance could follow the issuance of the revised FEMA maps.

Moving forward, the town will assess the accuracy of the latest flood maps. According to Ekdahl, though, “at first glance these numbers look good.”

Ekdahl had previously estimated that as many as 100 homes in town could be elevated in the next two years.