Brigantine has taken major steps to make the island more resilient from future storms. Pumping stations have been installed, a flood gate has been installed at the boat ramp, the Army Corps is looking at ways to expand the seawall and much more.
The City is now looking at ways to help property owners protect their homes. One initiative is that the City is applying for funds to help elevate properties with multiple flood claims.
A second initiative is to declare a portion of the waterfront area a redevelopment zone and provide a loan program to assist property owners to improve or install bulkheads.
“We need to do whatever we can to make Brigantine Island as resilient at possible. Helping property owners who want to improve their bulkheads is one more way to protect our community.”
The bulkhead standard in Brigantine has been in place since 1980. It requires that all bulkheads be built to a height of 9 feet NGVD 29.
Since 2000, the Engineer’s Office has monitored construction of bulkheads, so some bulkheads built prior to 2000 do not comply with current standards. Approximately thirty percent of the bulkheads in the City are non-compliant with current standards, need replacement due to deterioration or are non-existent.
The planned study area includes the bulkheads and the land area needed to construct bulkheads along the back bay from the north end of the island to the Brigantine Bridge, roughly 33,000 feet, and the bulkheads that begin across Brigantine Bridge continuing around St. George’s Thorofare, roughly 11,000 feet. The 44,000 feet of bulkhead abut a variety of uses including residential, multifamily and commercial uses.
During Superstorm Sandy, some properties in the study area that did not have bulkheads at the proper height were impacted by the storm and experienced some level of property destruction. Properties with the proper bulkhead height were also impacted as adjacent properties with inadequate bulkhead height allowed storm water to surge over them and flood neighboring property.
Next: a Redevelopment Plan will be developed and adopted. Then the City can establish a loan program to finance bulkhead replacement and qualified property owners will repay these loans through a special assessment. This program will be voluntary, to assist those property owners who are interested in improving their bulkhead.