District 38 Team Advances Flood Bill for Assembly Vote

The District 38 team is turning out to be a great asset for the whole state in this warming world. They are concentrating like a laser on flooding issues and it is much appreciated.

Their latest bill finally acknowledges something I had been painfully aware of for a while.  NJ floodmaps are woefully out of date and our laws insist we use the old ones.  This new bill would acknowledge that the flood risk has changed in NJ over the years. Mostly from overdevelopment, but also from natural forces, and sometimes by human intervention, often in a misguided effort to help prevent flooding.

I have actually had a client who had to build his building as if he was in a flood plain and elevate the floor and allow flow through openings in the basement, based on the old outdated maps, when his property was not anywhere near being in a flood plain. The old state-studied maps were off by several feet. In the latest flooding that occurred everywhere, his property remained high and dry.  By law we had to act as if his property was in the flood plain.  But the maps were wrong.  Our complaints fell on deaf ears.

On the other hand, many folks are stunned to find water in their houses because they did not used to be in the flood plain. A few years ago FEMA updated their maps but did not use new data. I paid for maps on CD then and they sent me maps that were useless. They had not updated any of the actual data used to make the maps. They just updated the maps themselves and so for many many years those old maps were all we had.  

Now that FEMA has new data and are truly updating the data, we can help more property owners. Sandy helped move the process along even further.  Flood maps change and we need to keep up.  Fortunately, the web has advanced too.  We now have good quick links to new maps.  

Based on better technology, we now have maps of waterways in our state derived from infrared mapping from the air. These are incredibly accurate and show every rivulet practically.  We also have better topography maps that are exquisite in detail.  

This new bill will enable a property owner to get permits or use information based on the most up to date flood maps from FEMA if they are more recent than the old maps.  Thankfully these new maps are easier to get and use by the general public.

Some links below:

Here is a link to a story on the new bill:


Some DIY links for making small maps anyone can use:

FEMA Map website: https://msc.fema.gov/webapp/wc…

NJDEP mapping (works best in Internet Explorer) to locate wetlands as well as contaminated sites, etc:  http://www.nj.gov/dep/gis/geow…

More fun with maps – The National Map: http://nationalmap.gov/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *