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Planners Favor Waiver of Height Restriction for Storm-Damaged Homes

Toms River, NJ Planning Board members have given their approval to an ordinance amendment that will waive the maximum height restriction for homes impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Relaxing that rule for those affected will allow them to raise their homes above 35 feet to satisfy FEMA flood guidelines while bypassing a trip before Toms River’s Zoning Board, so long as no other alterations are proposed. With all of the troubles many residents face as they try to rebuild after Sandy’s devastation, the relaxing of the height requirement for them is meant to make the recovery process go more smoothly, since they won’t have to appear in front of the Zoning Board for a variance. Most of the affected homes likely will require an increase of 4 to 5 feet to meet FEMA guidelines. Raising of homes will not affect disabled residents who require a ramp to access their structure as they are exempt from setback requirements. The challenge will be that they will need landings, and that will make the ramps much longer.

Submitted by: Donna M. Miller, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP Ref: TRP