Hoboken & Flood Laws


Concerned resident Liz Markevitch copied 411 (as well as other local papers) on a letter she sent to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. She is wondering why none of the redevelopment areas in Hoboken seem to address flood zone issues. She cites federal and state guidelines as well.

What are your opinions? Will she get “results”?


She wrote:

“Dear NJ DEP,
I have been going to countless zoning , city council, and planning board meetings to address the issue of Hoboken following the rule of law and regarding construction in flood zone area’s . I was hoping Hoboken would adopt rainwater runoff policies.

Turns out they were already Federal and state guidelines in effect regarding this, that were formally adopted in 2006 by Hoboken.

Yet there have been no variances granted for construction in our AE Flood area. There is no mention of flood elevation certificates or reports by engineers . There has be new construction allowing basements , business and residential units and no regard to where rainwater runoff goes to.

Construction projects have been allowed to cement 100% lot coverage. New Construction has sunk as much as a foot in the back end of town. When information regarding flood maps have been requested from the city clerks office -they have been told they do not have it. During construction there is no sump pumping or proper drainage of rain that is required by NJ Construction code. I am not even going to go into the fact that there are over 100 contaminated sites in Hoboken , and what happens when they are flooded despite the fact that they have been remediated by covering with cement and then parking is allowed on the ground level

I understand that following these flood zone regulations are costly; however the damages that occur afterwards are even more costly.

Recently The City Council has approved a $45,000 contract for the creation of a redevelopment plan for the city’s Western Edge area, an 11-acre parcel of land located between 9th and 14th streets along New Jersey Transit’s Light Rail. This area is in the AE zone. None of the redevelopment areas in Hoboken address the flood zone issue and I request that you force Hoboken to comply with these laws. When there is flooding -extensive water and sewage is leaking through the floodwater gates into the Hudson River.If you are unable to confront this issue , Who can I speak to regarding Hoboken’s failure to comply with these issues”

Liz Markevitch

She cites:

§ 104-7. Basis for establishing the areas of special flood hazard.
The areas of special flood hazard for the Hoboken Community No. 340222, are identified and defined on the following documents prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

  1. A scientific and engineering report “Flood Insurance Study, Hudson County, New Jersey (All Jurisdictions)” dated August 16, 2006.
  2. Flood Insurance Rate Map for Hudson County, New Jersey (All Jurisdictions) as shown on Index and panel numbers 0043, 0044, 0106, 0107; whose effective date is August 16, 2006.

The above documents are hereby adopted and declared to be a part of this chapter. The Flood Insurance Study and maps are on file at the office of Construction Official at City Hall, 94 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ, 07030.


“new Construction and substantial improvement of any commercial, industrial or other nonresidential structure shall either have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated
above the highest adjacent grade at least as high as the depth number specified in feet (at least two feet if no depth number is specified). And, require adequate drainage paths around structures on slopes to guide floodwaters around and away from proposed structures;”

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One reason might be that the City’s Storm Water Management Plan is cleverly written so that it only applies to projects of at least 1 acre in areas that don’t flood.

Yes – you read that right! By it’s terms, the Plan applies only by the waterfront, including that great flood zone Castle Point. It expressly excludes all areas that actually flood.

After the flood meeting at Legal Beans, I e-mailed Councilman Camarrano asking him if he could explain why this was so. I even sent him a copy of the ordinance, with the relevent portions highlighted, so he would be sure to understand what I was talking about.

I never heard back. Is anybody surprised?


Yeah, but in order to follow the LAW, the developers would have to spend more money that would take away from their condo profits… Of course our city government doesn’t want that – less money for them!
God forbid this town actually engages in a prudent study of the effects of covering 100% of the lots for all these new developments..
The funny part is – if I were to buy a piece of property and try to develop it, there is no way I’d be granted 100% lot coverage, yet all these monolithic condo buildings get those variances every time….