Rebuilding Can be a 'Long, Tedious Process'
David Petty's home at the end of Koa Drive had six feet of water from Hurricane Sandy; he's now in the process of rebuilding
At the end of Koa Drive is an empty lot where just one month ago, a house stood.
David Petty will be rebuilding his home, which he intended to do prior to Hurricane Sandy. The secondary home, located right off the Barnegat Bay, had taken on six feet of water due to the superstorm. Furniture was seen floating and hitting the ceiling, he said.
“The water resided by the time I got there,” Petty said. He arrived just a day or two after the hurricane.
“I knew going back the house was done,” he said. When his wife Sharon drove down, she was stopped at the police checkpoint for proof of residency. She was told, “good luck,” and her heart “sank.”
The inside of his home was covered in dirt, oil and sewage, he said.
Petty’s home continuously flooded, he said, resulting in endless repairs. One year, the home got water 17 times. By the time Hurricane Sandy hit, he was “mentally done.”
“It was almost like a relief after this one,” he said. “I don’t have to clean it anymore.”
The process of rebuilding began for Petty a couple years ago, he said.
His family had bought the home in the 1950s, he said. It’s where he and his wife met. The couple has lived there for approximately eight years.
“It was a pretty spot,” he said. “I knew it flooded. We just dealt with it.”
After rebuilding the home, the Petty’s plan to eventually live there permanently.
“This storm just sped the process up,” he said.
The Petty’s submitted an application to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
They were supposed to appear before the board in January but had to push the hearing back to February while Petty has his plans adjusted to meet the new flooding regulations.
“We had to shift gears and redesign,” he said.
Petty’s home is now located in a V10 zone. As defined by FEMA, the area is “subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual chance flood event with additional hazards due to storm-induced velocity wave action.”
Petty’s design raises the home with a 38-inch crawl space but with the new flooding regulations, he is required to raise it further.
The Pettys are seeking several variances from the zoning board: insufficient lot area; insufficient lot width; lot frontage waterfront setback; front, side and rear yard setbacks and accessory use in the front yard.
With an irregular lot, the new home will be two stories with an attached one-car garage. The dwelling will have a loft on crawl space foundation, a first floor screened porch, a second floor deck, exterior stairs, cantilevered bay window, raised AC units, paver driveway, in-ground pool, pool equipment storage area and a hot tub.
The policy states that damaged homes situated below the base flood elevation and located on a nonconforming lot can be restored, rebuilt or raised or demolished and rebuilt with a new proposed structure as long as they are replaced in a conforming location.
Petty’s was not, which is why he must still have his application heard before the entire zoning board.
Just two blocks away Timothy and LeAnn Rooney also have decided to rebuild their home after Hurricane Sandy. The home is currently uninhabitable and the zoning board approved their application in December.
“I think everyone’s scared about what to do,” Petty said, adding that FEMA funding and regulations can be intimidating.
“It’s a long, tedious process,” he said.
Petty has had to deal with FEMA in the past.
But working with the zoning board office was “tremendous,” he said, calling it a “good experience.”
Petty expects his application to be heard on Monday, Feb. 4.
“I complied and we’re good to go,” he said.