AAA – Activity, Access & the Asbury Park Press
(and the Dark Side of Township Obstacles)
Greetings NJ and Happy Cinco de Mayo !
Activity – Yay!: There’s some positive news this week about rebuilding up and down the Jersey Shore. In each of the areas we are working (the Seaside barrier island, Long Beach Island and Little Egg Harbor) there is increased activity, and it is encouraging. Permits are finally starting to come through, insurance funding is trickling in (or people are funding reconstruction themselves) and contractors are working. We are seeing demolition, new pilings and foundations going in, and homes being raised and reconstructed – all very positive signs. Let’s keep the momentum going, NJ!
Seminar Schedule: Our next Free Rebuilding seminar will be held at the Ocean County Library on June 13, 2013 at 6 pm. Once again, we are hosting an excellent panel of professionals who will share important information about the different aspects of rebuilding. Currently included on our roster are Scott Lepley, architect, Steve Brasslett, Ivy First Mortgage, Tracey Giery, realtor, Sandra Guage, attorney, and an insurance professional. I will be moderating and it’ll be an open forum for discussion to get your specific questions answered. Remember to bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.
Dark Side of the Township(like Dark Side of the Moon, only harder to understand): We are seeing a lot of needless delays at the permitting level in both the numerous townships, as well as the various homeowners’ associations we are dealing with. As is human nature, the barn door is well and truly being secured, after the horses have escaped. What should be a streamlined process encouraging people to intelligently rebuild as quickly as possible has turned into a bureaucratic headache. On top of the angst and aggravation that Sandy victims have already dealt with, there is increased unnecessary permitting delay, as well as increased administrative costs. Often overlooked and easily underestimated, these costs and delays (which translate directly into additional increased costs) are decidedly counterproductive to rebuilding efforts. No suggestions on this item, although if our state government concentrated more on improving or encouraging more efficient performance on the local level instead of obtaining $60 billion in funding that has yet to be disbursed to homeowners, we could really kick start this process.
A number of homeowner’s associations on the barrier islands go one absurd step further and are allowing their seasonal construction restrictions to stand, in order to not offend any of the tourists or homeowners who are not actively rebuilding. NEWSFLASH: Most streets of 40-50 homes have less than 5 people back living in their homes. The majority of the rest is working on reconstructing, or is not coming down this summer. IE: There is no one around to inconvenience.
Message to Governor Christie, local building departments & Homeowner Associations: Folks rebuilding from Sandy don’t need any more obstacles. Life is difficult enough.
Access Options – Stairway to Heaven Part III:One detail I neglected to write about last week after our seminar involved chair lifts (as opposed to elevators or ramps) as an additional, less expensive access option to your elevated home. At our last seminar, Scott Lepley discussed considering various types of chair lifts, both interior and exterior. Chair lifts are guided by the handrail, run along a stairwell and are chain driven. The chair folds up to be out of the way when not in use. There are several advantages over elevators and ramps. For one, lifts are relatively inexpensive. An interior chair lift with a straight 13 step run costs in the neighborhood of $3500. An exterior lift runs about twice that amount, but can be used outside. Chair lifts can also make turns in stairs (if you don’t have a straight stair run) but cost slightly more. The other advantage is that this option can be retrofitted at a future date, providing you plan the stair run to allow for it. Something to think about when doing your planning.
Asbury Park Press and Comic Books: Last Sunday, the Asbury Park Press did a 28 page article about Sandy. Though I have read the APP on occasion over the years, I am prompted to write about the lack of depth or direction in the piece. A series of individual stories about the stress and bad experiences of homeowners, the article did little to clarify forward direction for anyone looking for answers. What could have been a fact filled discussion about specifics was essentially a written hand wringing, reminding one of the many useless homeowners’ association and protest meetings occurring regularly. Moral 1: If you want soap opera and woe-is-me prose, read the Press. For journalism, turn elsewhere. The NY Times, while definitely slanted slightly to the left, is an example of a newspaper with fact-filled, intelligent writing and commentary. Moral #2: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Getting together en masse to complain about a situation has rarely in history accomplished anything. Focus on your specific situation and work on it one step at a time.
Lesson: All the activity happening now throughout NJ is due to resolute, determined, forward thinking individuals minding their own business, adapting to the situation and taking steps to adapt. No one complaining at meetings is accomplishing much of anything. Complaining about how FEMA screwed everyone (they did, are and will – no question) does very little other than increase your blood pressure. Taking control of your own future is a very satisfying action.
I hope my post helps you today.
On another note, we actively purchase raw land, building lots and existing properties and have done so for many years. If you have property to sell, give me a call and let us evaluate it for you.
Stay well NJ.
Rebuild, Renovate, Raise or Repair Your Home from Storm Sandy
Rebuilding NJ One Home at a Time…
Residential Construction & Development for over 20 years in NJ
314 Rt.9, Forked River, NJ 08731 Mailing: PO Box 627, Forked River, NJ 08731
609 693 8881 x 102 Fax: 609 693 3802 Cell: 732 300 5619