Some residents of New Jersey's coastal towns may soon be required to purchase flood insurance, and not just because of the recent devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.
By next year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is scheduled to complete a re-mapping of flood zones for shore towns, some of which haven't had the maps updated in decades.
To do that, FEMA uses laser technology that can determine land elevation to within six inches, FEMA regional specialist Barbara Lynch told The Press of Atlantic Ciy.
Lynch said the new maps will take into account the most recent data from storm surge activity from Hurricane Sandy and should be available for shore towns next summer. Even without Sandy, she said, the maps figure to have changed over the years.
"There's been a great deal of development since 1983, new highways, et cetera," Lynch said. "Some areas that were in the flood plain on the old map may not be on the new map. And some areas not in the flood area in the old map may be in the new map."
That could mean homeowners near the beaches would have to buy flood insurance. But in the wake of Sandy, that might be an easier pill to swallow.
"When you (redo maps), people are now forced to buy flood insurance that didn't need it before, and they look at elected officials thinking it's their fault," Andy Anderson, of Anderson Insurance in Stafford Township and on Long Beach Island, told the newspaper. "Either they didn't protect them, or they did this program for nefarious reasons ... But it'll be done by engineers, not insurance people."