July 2, 2013
Dear Gov. Christie:
Please veto S2680 and A3933 which permits construction of residential and commercial projects on existing piers located over large bodies of water in High Hazard Areas (FEMA V Zones) in Special Urban Areas subject to approval by local municipal council.
This bill does not address the rebuilding of the Sandy-ravaged shoreline nor does it seek to assure resilience in the future. In fact, it does the very opposite by encouraging development on the most vulnerable structures along the waterfront, the piers. The bill flies in the face of the FEMA flood maps and just good old common sense. It is so ignorant of reality that it leads one to wonder why was it written at all.
The intent of the bill as reported in a BIZNEWS interview with one of the primary sponsors, Senator Nicholas Sacco, was to provide benefit for “5 or 6” developers who had already created “ready-to-go” plans for construction on “a handful” of existing piers in coastal waterfront areas, areas that in the aftermath of Sandy were placed into the High Hazard area of state law N.J.A.C. 7:7E-3.18 thereby prohibiting residential development (commercial not encouraged). Whether such information was ever provided to those who voted on this bill is unknown. An attempt to inform the members of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee at the public hearing on June 10, 2013 was cut off so that understanding of the bill’s purpose and impact were not heard. The wording of this bill does not declare its intent or make it known that the bill is intended for a select few of piers and developers.
The danger is that with no limitation put on the number of piers and no definition of what is meant by an “existing pier,” the bill opens the way for swift development of plans for piers in High Hazard Areas (even where no visible decks exist now but where the cut off and decaying pilings still exist and maps provide a shadow of long-gone piers). This bill makes it possible to build very risky and precarious development that will never be eligible for FEMA insurance while still being subjected to the first surge of powerful storms and sea level rise. This is a lethal combination.
Please veto this poorly conceived, inadequately presented and foolhardy bill.
Donald Stitzenberg, Esq. Vice President
Edward H. Rogaski, Jr.. Treasurer
Peggy Wong, Secretary
Mary Hogan; Howard Singer, Ph.D.; William Neyenhouse PP; Dorcey Winant
Support this effort by emailing the Governor at www.state.nj.us/governor/contact/ or by writing to the Office of the Governor, P.O. Box 001, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0001, or by calling (609) 777-2500. Thank you.