Sandy homes deemed substantially damaged can be appealed

TOMS RIVER – Owners of homes designated as “substantially damaged” after superstorm Sandy, forcing them to make costly repairs they argue are unnecessary, could have the opportunity to ask Toms River officials to re-evaluate their cases under a new township ordinance.

The new law, scheduled for a public hearing Feb. 9, allows more than 700 owners of substantially damaged properties to file an appeal to the damage designation. Homes were designated as substantially damaged if the total cost of repairs was considered to be at least 50% of their pre-Sandy market value. 

The October 2012 storm is still impacting hundreds of homeowners in Toms River, which suffered more Sandy damage than any other municipality in the state. Watch the video above to see the mayor talk about FEMA loan forgiveness program that saved Toms River millions.

After Sandy, more than 3,500 Toms River properties were designated as substantially damaged. The majority of those homes have been repaired and elevated to meet federal flood-protection standards.

File photo
Residents watch as workers try to clear Route 35 in Ortley Beach of sand and debris from superstorm Sandy in 2012 as they try to make their way around their neighborhood. Residents watch in awe as workers try to clear Route 35 in Ortley Beach of sand and debris from Superstorm Sandy as they try to make their way around their neighborhood.

Rental permits:Toms River mayor says town will continue issuing rental permits for Sandy-damaged homes

Flood protection:Bayshore towns will see millions for flood prevention projects: Pallone

But more than 700 Sandy-damaged homes do not yet comply with federal flood mandates. Owners of some of those properties believe the houses were improperly designated as having substantial damage.

Some homeowners who completed repairs themselves said they spent far less than half the value of the structure.

Ocean Terrace in Ortley Beach on Oct. 30, 2012, the day after superstorm Sandy (top), and the same street as it looks today

The substantial damage designation is important, because substantially damaged structures are required to be elevated or otherwise modified to make them less vulnerable to flooding. Elevating a home can cost $100,000 or more.

Township Engineer Robert J. Chankalian said the new ordinance will reopen the appeal process for such homes, which had been closed by the township some time ago.

Flooding potential:Gulf Stream is the weakest in 1,000 years; that could drive more Jersey Shore flooding