New Jersey will adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency's new flood maps immediately, Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday.
FEMA is not expected to make the new maps official for up to two years, a delay Christie said would leave property owners in limbo, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The governor visited Seaside Heights, a resort that was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.
"There's no perfect solution to this problem, but if we wait, all we're doing is delaying New Jersey's recovery," Christie said. "Waiting 18-24 months is not acceptable. Missing three summers at the Jersey shore, sorry, not going to happen."
Under the rules, homes that lost at least half their storm damage would have to be rebuilt to the flood levels on the maps. Owners of properties that suffered less damage could have to pay considerably more for federal flood insurance if they do not meet the new standards.
Property owners will have to make "tough decisions," Christie said, paying as much as $50,000 to elevate houses to the new levels or in some cases leaving the Jersey Shore.