By David Madden
TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – As Washington prepares for final approval of the bulk of Hurricane Sandy relief this week, those who need to rebuild down the shore have a lot of questions. Tops on many lists are official standards that could make homes safer and less expensive to insure for future bouts with Mother Nature. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says they won’t be waiting much longer.
The feds are putting new flood zone maps together that’ll take two years to finalize. And without new rules for how high the houses have to sit, many are waiting to get started on rebuilding.
Christie says he feels their pain, “People are stalled right now, because they don’t know what to do, and I had this conversation with my staff and I said to them, ‘Hell with it. I’m deciding.’ I’ll decide. We’ll set the standard in New Jersey and let everybody follow us.”
That decision will come, he promises, this week. And he promises the rules will be aggressive. Translation: higher than they were before. That way, Christie feels, residents can make choices and avoid surprises down the line.
“What I don’t want to have happen is to have people build to old standards, because they don’t know what the new standards are and then they get a huge flood insurance bill because you say, ‘well, you built to the old standards but the new standards are much higher.’ So now your flood insurance is going to cost — instead of $2,000 — $20,000. And that’s possible.”
Christie suggests grants could help some of those distressed homeowners comply with the stricter standards and they’ll be available in a few weeks.