The SandPaper

Building Rules Eyed to Comply With Flood Safety

Barnegat Light Borough Council introduced an ordinance revising “floodplain management regulations” pursuant to state law and federal flood insurance requirements at its monthly meeting Aug. 10. Similar measures have been passed by other Long Beach Island towns.

Public hearing and discussion on second reading are scheduled for the next meeting, at 5 p.m. Sept. 14 in borough hall, at 10 East Seventh Street.

The lengthy and detailed regulations are in conjunction with the Uniform Construction Code of New Jersey to “provide minimum requirements for development located in flood hazard areas.” Municipalities that participate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) also must continue to meet requirements of the federal regulations.

Borough Construction Official and designated Floodplain Administrator Sean MacCotter said that in the rules, FEMA and NFIP allows municipalities stronger fines and summonses to enforce violations to the floodplain ordinances.

Such a case could be for illegal habitable spaces designed below flood elevation, MacCotter said.

“It gives the ordinance some teeth.”

Maps that show specific flood hazard areas are on file in borough hall. Builders and others with questions on the regulations can contact the borough construction office, MacCotter said.

The detailed ordinance lists specific rules for construction in Coastal High Hazard Areas (V Zones) and Coastal A Zones, as well as other areas.

It also outlines in which cases certain construction and conditions may occur when analyses are prepared by a licensed professional engineer that demonstrate, as just one example, no harmful diversion of floodwater that would increase damage to adjacent structures.

The borough is required by state law “to administer and enforce the State building codes, and such building codes contain certain provisions that apply to the design and construction of buildings and structures in flood hazard areas,” the ordinance says. Also, the borough is required to “enforce zoning codes that secure safety from floods.”

In other business, the ordinance is still being drawn up that will set water rates in the new digital metering process. The base rates will take into account, among other factors, data on usage that has been collected over the past year since the meters were installed.

Homeowners curious to know their metered water usage so far can learn by sending an email to, said Councilwoman Mary Ellen Foley. Allow up to 10 days for a reply.

Foley said it can be advantageous to check the usage, since unusually high numbers could point to undetected leaks in a system such as a toilet.

In the 4:30 p.m. agenda discussion meeting prior to the regular meeting, council discussed possibly raising fees for next season on beach badges and boat ramp dockage but made no determination this month.  —M.S.

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