By LEE PROCIDA, Staff Writer Press ofAtlantic City
Sea Isle City residents will be able to save 20 percent on their flood insurance starting this fall because of the community’s acceptance into a national flood mitigation program.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System is a voluntary incentive program that promotes better planning to prevent flooding and awards insurance discounts based on danger reduction efforts.
Sea Isle’s status in the program was rescinded in 1995, but Mayor Len Desiderio said Monday that the city, after nearly 20 years of working toward improving its flood rating, was able to enter the program this year as a Class 6 community, one of only 10 in the state, according to FEMA’s website.
“We’ve actually gone from one of the worst to one of the best in flood planning management,” he said.
Among the city’s actions were an ordinance banning the building of family rooms or spare bedrooms at ground level and a requirement that all homes built after 1993 be one foot higher than FEMA’s base flood elevation.
The city also hired a consultant on floodplain management two years ago.
Communities in the program are ranked from 1 to 9, with Class 1 communities the most prepared and Class 9 the least. There are 59 entities in the program inNew Jersey, and none are ranked better than a 6, according to the latest information from FEMA.
In The Press ofAtlantic City’s coverage area, Sea Isle City joins Avalon, Brigantine,Long BeachTownship, Longport and Stafford Township as the only communities where residents can get a 20 percent discount on their insurance.
A total of 20 towns along the ocean and bays in the area are in the program, with discounts that range from 5 percent, such as in Atlantic City and Greenwich Township, to 10 percent, 15 percent and 20 percent.
Desiderio said the city’s homeowners will collectively realize about $800,000 in savings by participating in the program, which is made possible through a number of new plans and ordinances implemented over the past 20 years, such as outlawing ground-floor storage rooms and requiring flood vents in homes.
“We have made great strides,” Desiderio said. “We’ve worked very hard to achieve this.”