By: Oren Liebermann

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BRIGANTINE, N.J., (CBS) – On Bayshore Avenue in Brigantine, Marie Hillman’s ranch home was in the worst flood zone after Sandy, in danger of flooding and waves, even though she lives six blocks from the beach.

“I’ve lived here since 1966,” said Hillman. “We’ve never had water in the house.”

She worried she would have to raise her home on stilts, which her neighbor already did.  But the newest FEMA flood maps show Hillman and many others in Brigantine are in a less hazardous flood zone that is not threatened by waves.

That is good news for a town still rebuilding. Hillman may still have to raise her home, but onto blocks, not stilts.

“I think what [FEMA] did is got everyone upset too soon,” Hillman said.

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FEMA’s updated flood maps released this week scaled back the number of homes in the worst flood zones down the shore (See Previous Story). That makes flood insurance more affordable.  And that makes raising the homes less expensive since they do not have to be as high.

“There was people that were ready to walk away from their houses. You’re talking the difference between a $30,000 house lift and a $70,000 to $100,000 house lift,” said Richard Stevens, a Brigantine construction manager.

In Brigantine, the new maps saved a lot of people a lot of money.  In the flood maps released after Sandy, 2,700 homes were added to the highest risk areas. In the new maps, that number is down to about 50 homes.

“There was a lot of Brigantine grassroots efforts to contact our representatives and to get these maps coordinated,” says Ken Krebs, whose home is now in the lower risk area.

FEMA reduced the highest risk flood areas in Atlantic County by 80%, in Ocean County by 45%, and in Monmouth County by 46%.

New Jersey wants homeowners to build one foot above FEMA standards for additional protection.  FEMA says the higher a home is built, the less insurance will cost.

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If you’d like to check what flood zone your home or favorite vacation spot is in, visit