Sandy Policy Enacted to Quicken Rebuilding Process for Homeowners
Residents who must restore or rebuild their homes after Sandy can do so within the same footprint without going before the Zoning Board of Adjustment
Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy along Lacey’s waterfront areas, many homes may have to be rebuilt and to accelerate the process the Committee approved a Super Storm Sandy Reconstruction Policy for residential structures.
“We’re trying to quicken up the pace of these approvals so that there’s not such a delay of two to three months and of course the costs associated with that,” Township Administrator and Municipal Clerk Veronica Laureigh said.
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. Proof of damage is required.
Many of the homes east of Route 9, mainly in the Forked River Beach area, have been damaged and are nonconforming lots according to today’s standards, Laureigh said.
Many of those homes in the Forked River Beach area are on 50-foot lots, Committeeman Gary Quinn said.
“Even though they’re undersized lots, automatically that triggers you to have to go to the Board of Adjustment because it’s a nonconforming use,” he said. “We’re trying to take that off the plate to allow people the ability to build their homes and get back into them without that three to six month delay.”
During that time, costs can amount to $6,000, he said.
Those looking to restore or rebuild, would go to the township for administrative approval, Laureigh said. The zoning officer would review the structure pre and post-Sandy. The residents would be able to build within the same footprint, as long as it’s conforming, without having to go before the Board of Adjustment.
“It’s a mechanism that gives (the resident) the ability to move forward a lot quicker,” Quinn said.
One Lacey couple already received approval at a Board of Adjustment meeting to rebuild their home after it was devasted by Sandy's storm surge. The approval came two weeks before the policy was approved but that couple did need insufficient lot area, insufficient lot width and waterfront setback variances.
The application was the first of what the zoning board believes will be many Hurricane Sandy-related appeals to come. Chairman Tim McDonald had said the township as a whole—Committee, zoning and Planning Board—would have to get involved.
“The issue normally is, unless it’s very egregious, most boards will let you rebuild but it does take time and effort and there’s the sheer number that all the town’s in this area are dealing with,” zoning board Attorney Thomas Gannon previously said.
The board does not have the authority to determine what appeals come before them, Gannon had said, but they can expedite the process as they did with the Rooney’s in deeming the application complete and approving it in one meeting.
This policy will also quicken the process.
“We’ve got to do something to help these victims…We’re going to have a lot to deal with,” McDonald previously said. “We’re going to bend over backwards to accommodate them as quickly as possible.”
Below are the steps included in the policy:
- Any structure damaged by Super Storm Sandy below the base flood elevation of 6 feet and situated on a nonconforming lot may be restored/rebuilt/raised or demolished and rebuilt with a new proposed structure as long as it can be relocated in a conforming location, without the need for a zoning variance.
- The restored/rebuilt/raised or new proposed structure must not exceed the maximum lot coverage, overall height or encroach into any setback requirements within the zone; which is mandated by Township Development Regulations.
- To restore/rebuild/raise or construct a new proposed structure, a new survey must be submitted in accordance with the current plot plan requirements. Proof depicting the existing footprint of the structure and photographs showing the damage to the structure sustained by Super Storm Sandy will be required prior to obtaining the necessary zoning/construction permits.
- All new structures must be built in accordance with the construction standards mandated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), notwithstanding any state or local rules and regulations to the contrary.
- To restore/rebuild/raise or demolish and construct a new proposed structure, proper notice must be given via certified mail to all property owners within 200 feet as per a certified list prepared by the Tax Assessors office. Maps and documents concerning the Zoning Permit application will be available for public inspection 10 business days from the date of notice.
- All applications submitted must meet the requirements of Chapter 335-79; Zoning Permits.
- Any pre-existing non-conforming accessory buildings or structures situated on the property must be brought into compliance; if not, a variance must be obtained by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
- The policy does not pertain to nonconforming uses.