Army Corp Meeting from last night


The one that made the most sense to the ACOE, was a sea wall.

Although, many of the other plans looked familiar..

Slide to the left, ACOE idea, Picture to right, my idea from last March for a “Barrier”

sea wall idea

What didn’t make the list at all?

Raising the town.

hb ideas flooding

23 comments

  1. Nice video! Incidentally, please join the HIGHLANDS New Jersey FB group and leave questions for my radio show on Sunday at 8p. The folks from the Army Corps of Engineers will join me for follow-up and new questions.

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  2. We really need to to take this opportunity to do all we can to protect town from both inside and outside. I’m all for Army Corp plan. Hopefully Highlands will have people lobbying to be picked for project. Seabright is planning to do pretty much same thing on bayside along with pumping station. http://www.redbankgreen.com/2012/01/sea-bright-mayor-dives-into-work.html
    Safety of whole town needs to take precedent over views. My question would be if they build walls might it reduce height homes will need to lift since Seabright less due to Seawall?

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    • No – it will not decrease the elevation height for homes. Those heights are mandated by FEMA flood maps based on AE/VE zones. Nor will it decrease flood insurance rates. Sea Bright heights are determined by federal BFE standards (same as Highlands) but their homes sit at a higher base elevation than Highlands, so their building height for lowest beam is lower. The sea wall merely allowed those homes to be in an AE zone – which is the same zone as Highlands..

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    • Barbara certain areas n Seabright I believe are only 8ft ABFE and they have Ocean and Bay. Driving through you can see the homes are not being built as high as in Highlands. The Seawall I believe puts them at a higher sea level? I could be wrong on that but that was my impression. Perhaps a conversation with Dina Long might be prudent since they have same issues on Bayside as we do.

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    • If that is truly FEMA’s ruling for reducing the standards of BFE levels near a wall why didn’t the ACOE just say so when asked that question? They used FEMA’s rules for determining the bulkhead/berm heights. … Too many unknowns for an informed conclusion … And thanks – I’ll follow up with Dina and Sea Bright to get some kind of understanding on heights, flood rates ,etc.

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    • And from some of the things I’ve been reading out of Louisiana, the BFE and zones can change based on the levies built. There are levies built by the ACOE that are certified and thus change the zones. Other levies are built by different entities (parishes, maybe? I’m not that up on this) and do not afford the same levels of protection according to FEMA unless they get certified by the ACOE. There’s an ongoing push to get that certification and thus change the zones to reflect the actual protection of the levies.

      The sheer amount of questions is overwhelming. I can’t even bring myself to get into any kind of argument over this until we all know more.

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    • Yeah … The wall needs to be complete and the flood risk reduced before getting relief. That’s a good 10 years away. … Or put another way … 3 mayoral elections from now.

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  3. I went into that meeting thinking I’d be 100% behind the ACOE. But after listening to them last night, I’m not. There were so many questions they couldn’t answer and things they hadn’t thought to address. Plus, there’s no coordination with FEMA on where lifting all the houses fits in. So at this point, I have some serious reservations about the particular plan they chose.

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    • I watched the presentation/Q&A and although there are questions & concerns if we do not support the Corp plan we get nothing and that is just not acceptable with sea levels rising, so we need to work with them to try to find solutions and what we as a whole town can live with. We need to address future storm surges. It will be a project that the needs of the many must outweigh the needs of the few, unfortunately. If its protecting your home over a view or personal beach access I choose safety above all!! if we get a cat 4 or 5 hurricane we are done for……this is a wake up call. My thoughts are the things they didn’t think of were probably never brought to their attention since residents weren’t involved from onset and backfilling town was being pushed so hard.

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  4. I don’t have a property on the water, a dock, or access to a private beach, but I can’t deny that there are many people who bought in Highlands with those things in mind. It didn’t even sound like the ACOE thought about those issues at all, or how marina owners can continue to operate. Or how this financially strapped town can afford to maintain all this stuff they want to build. And if we all have to elevate, according to FEMA, we’ll be fine. How do these government entities not coordinate in their flood-proofing efforts? I’ll never claim to be an engineering expert, but there are a lit of things that concern me about this plan.

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    • I agree with Seven Stars. I do have property on the water and I’m also all in for the good of the whole. But there are flaws in the design of the project that will not prevent water from coming in during a 100 year storm surge effect. I question why Highlands would accept the cheapest alternative based on cost/ratio benefits of the ACOE? That’s like buying the cheapest cabinets at Home Depot only to have knobs and doors fall off within a year. I also question who is the driving force behind the ACOE plan for a “dry solution” when homeowners are mandated at a very steep price to elevate homes based on FEMA’s flood maps? As Seven Stars asked: “How do these government agencies not coordinate in flood-proofing efforts?” My home was built to those FEMA standards,and we had NO flood damage from Sandy. The water came …. and the water left. Highlands already has a steel wall bulkhead designed and built by the ACOE and it has rotted through, failed and did not protect those homes from Sandy’s surge. Are we setting Highlands up to create more blight in the one area that makes our town a ‘jewel’? I would vote for a 100% guaranteed solution- which by the way the ACOE could not give – but I am hard pressed to vote for the cheapest plan as presented at the meeting. Give us a plan that meets the cost/ratio approval for Atlantic Highlands, Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach and Long Branch … and then we are talking true revitalization and development for the future vision of Highlands.

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    • Do we know how much those towns received from AOEC projects? I think the gate is the best idea and would also help the towns mentioned. Perhaps we can pool are Sandy resources? 1,100 homes did flood and was not only from inside so I do believe with some tweeks like perhaps these walls can be recreational like a boardwalk in certain areas or even if we got local artist to do interesting paintings on them could be cool. I don’t think bulkheads failed but surge was too high for them although they are quite rusted. But we need protection and to say no just seems foolish as personally I do not want to relive another flood event. Also given state grants are not helping people, I think many people cannot afford to lift to Fema standards and even with lift doesn’t mean bad storm can’t come in and knock you off your foundation like further South where the eye hit.

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    • Who is saying No? All I hear are valid questions, discussions and recognition of facts that are an important part of this process.

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    • I just meant if we do not support corp to get it right and be negative or resistant towards their plans. Just for record by HB’s poll there are people just saying “no”.

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    • I say yes to the poll, BUT no to the ACOE plan. Just for the reacord the question was weak, the way its worded makes you have vote yes. The question needs to be can we trust ACOE?

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    • Let me pose another question, what do you think would have happened to those houses on sea drift to snug harbor if that old rusty ugly bulk head wasn’t there during Sandy?

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    • The only part I take issue with is your comment “if we all have to elevate according to FEMA…” My condo never flooded but we got water during Sandy. FEMA says we don’t have to lift. There are buildings downtown that are being flood proofed and not lifted. So no, we won’t all be fine when the water comes again. Some of us will still be cleaning out & fixing the damage.

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    • I was under the impression that the massive flood insurance rate hikes were going to force everyone to elevate, substantially damaged or not, as it’s the only way to avoid a huge premium spike. I’ve already been raised 64% and my projected bill under BW is about $23,000. If you’re below the BFE you will be paying significantly more for insurance.

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    • We were damaged, but not substantially. Therefore I don’t believe we are required to raise. And even though I’m going to cite a reference, I’m sure some one out there can counter it. It seems no one can get straight answers.

      Right from “Am I required to raise my home…” under NJ residents: “Therefore, if the community determines that your structure is substantially damaged, you will be required to elevate the structure…”

      http://www.region2coastal.com/sandy/abfe/property_owners#Raise

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    • The “community” declared pretty much the whole town substantially damaged, whether they were or not. If you go on the website, you can check by address. It is in the boro’s best interest to declare it all that way, because then you have to fight it if you think that you were not and I think there’s some advantage for the town as well, possibly in terms of aid.

      There are advantages either way. You won’t get ICC money if you weren’t substantially damaged, which is why North Middletown is up in arms. They are now in a flood plain but have never flooded — so they have to raise entirely on their own dime or get screwed by NFIP. This is true for big parts of Louisiana and Florida as well, and as they release more flood maps (they were kind enough -HA- to release NJ/NY first), more and more people are going to get boned by this.

      But if you weren’t substantially damaged, you aren’t required to lift to get a certificate of occupancy when you try to sell..

      If you haven’t heard of the Stop FEMA Now movement, go check it out. They’re on Facebook and at http://www.stopfemanow.com.

      Sandy was just the first disaster. FEMA and the NFIP are bringing on the next one because of the Biggert-Waters act and the lack of oversight of the NFIP program over its history).

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    • Also, I’m sure the engineering is out there to lift structures, but look at all the condo buildings on Shore Drive between Waterwitch & Sea Streak. That’s going to be a massive task but I haven’t heard any of those residents talking about the need to lift.

      We’re condos so I think we might be slightly different. I know that the standard policy that’s attached to my flood insurance declaration page is for condos and is not the same as single unit home owners. I don’t know what the differences are, just that I’ve noticed the heading is different.

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  5. @ HB I can tell you that before I evacuated the Marina (Capt Cove) was already flooding over low bulkhead. So If we didn’t have the higher bulkhead’s I don’t think would have a home to come back to at all.

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