Build Responsibly

When building or buying a home, you may think about where you want to live, what schools are nearby, and what other amenities does the community provide. But one of the most important considerations you need to make is how will you minimize the potential of adverse impacts to your property, and the health and safety of those who reside there. 

Where you build and how you build will have impacts on our community and generations that follow.  All “development” activities within the regulated floodplain are required to be reviewed by the Borough of Manasquan.  The federal definition of “development” for floodplain considerations is very broad.  Development is defined as any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations, or storage of equipment or materials. (44CFR59.1).

All new construction or substantial improvements in a flood plain must be built to the flood plain ordinance regulations. New Jersey's Flood Hazard Control Act set minimum construction and an elevation standard for structures built inside the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), and gives communities the authority to adopt and enforce higher standards.  Additional construction standards are required under the New Jersey Building Codes. The NJ Floodplain Management Guide (Link) also has great information of building responsibly within a flood hazard area.

Manasquan Borough Ordinance Chapter 29 specifically regulates Flood Damage Prevention in the Borough of Manasquan.

To find out what permits and standards are required before you build or if you see illegal development in the floodplain, visit or call Manasquan’s Construction & Code Department at (732) 223-0544 ext. 307 located on the second floor of Borough Hall.

Building in the Flood Plain

​The first step is to determine what flood zone your property is located in.  After determining your flood zone, the most important step you can take is to build your home with the lowest floor elevated to at least 1-foot above the 100-year flood level, also referred to as the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Consider building higher whenever possible, and consider construction options that limit the placement of large amounts of fill material in the floodplain. This will minimize the impact to other properties so they are not forced to receive the volume of water displaced by the fill material on your property.

Buying a Home in the Flood Plain

​Flood insurance is necessary to obtain federally secured funds to buy, build or renovate a structure located in a flood hazard area. This includes federal grants, FHA or VA loans and most conventional mortgages since the lenders are federally insured. This makes it crucial to check whether your future home is located in the floodplain. 

Manasquan requires an elevation certificate to be submitted for structures built in known flood-prone areas of the county.  Elevation certificates may already be available for your structure. Check with the seller to see if they can provide you with a copy of the certificate. If not, Manasquan’s Construction & Code Department maintains elevation certificates for buildings that have been constructed or substantially improved since 1992.  You can request a copy of an Elevation Certificate by contacting the Manasquan Construction & Code Department at (732) 223-0544 ext. 307 or by visiting the second floor of Borough Hall. Please note that some homes, such as older homes, may not have an elevation certificate available, and it may be your responsibility to obtain one if you need it for insurance purposes or plan to make substantial improvements 

Anyone planning to make improvements to a structure, which could be considered as "substantial improvements", to a structure located inside the SFHA should discuss their rehabilitation plans with a licensed contractor, architect and Insurance agent.    

The Borough of Manasquan's ordinance defines substantial improvements as follows:

Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, modification, addition, or other improvement of a structure during a ten-year period the cost which exceeds 40% of the market value of the structure before the "start of construction" of the improvement. Substantial improvement also means "cumulative substantial improvement" for the last 10 years prior to the issuance of a building permit for such improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred "substantial damage" regardless of the actual repair work performed or "repetitive loss." The term does not, however, include either:

a. Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of State or local health, sanitary or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local Code Enforcement Officer and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions;

b. Any alteration of a "historic structure," provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a "historic structure."

This term includes structures which have incurred 'substantial damage,' regardless of the actual repair work performed.”  Any construction that meets this requirement would be considered a significant improvement and the entire structure would be required to meet current building code and elevation requirements."

For more information about purchasing or building within the floodplain, please contact the Manasquan Construction & Code Department at (732) 223-0544 ext. 307 or by visiting the second floor of Borough Hall.