Flooding in Highlands

Flooding is a serious problem in Highlands.

Highlands resident Derek Gordon street kayaking after this afternoon's storm. Photo credit: Brian Cobb

The center of town, which is both residential and business, is at a lower elevation than the shore line. During a storm, water comes from the Sandy Hook Bay/Shrewsbury River and storm water comes rushing down to the below sea level downtown from “the hill,” the highest elevation on the east coast of the United States which includes parts of Highlands and the Monmouth Hills section of Middletown. During a big storm at high tide and a full moon, downtown Highlands looks like Venice without the charm and romance.

Councilman Chris Francy convinced the rest of the governing body to have T&M Associates, the borough’s engineers, design a flood mitigation system that includes new pumps and pipes to get the water out of town and back into the bay/river.   The project is said to be “shovel ready” and will cost roughly $4 million dollars.  The governing body is applying to FEMA to cover $2.2 million of the cost.  Congressman Frank Pallone is on board to advocate for the project with FEMA.  At a town hall meeting on Monday night, Francy, Pallone and Mayor Frank Nolan said that Highlands is currently number three on FEMA’s list of such projects in New Jersey but that only two will be approved.  Pallone is working to get Highlands bumped up on the list and secure the funding.  That might be good for Highlands and bad for a community along the Passaic River.

The governing body is set to vote on a resolution tonight that will put the project on the ballot in November as a non-binding referendum.  The referendum would ask the voters consent to fund the entire project without FEMA money.

There’s two problems with this scenario.

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Posted: August 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Army Corp of Engineers, Chris Francy, FEMA, Flooding, Frank Pallone, Highlands | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »