Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –
Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC
7 – 22 -14
Hello Sandsters – I hope this blog finds you well.
Today we’ll post a short blog (sure you will Vince) and talk a bit about the status of RREM and how we seem to be unable to spend money correctly, Senator Sweeney’s rather scathing rebuke of the DCA and mention our Nearly Famous Rebuilding seminar tomorrow night in Manahawkin. We’ll talk about some of the immediate effects of the recent RREM changes eliminating Path C, chat about an interesting idea for a money saving foundation system and touch on zoning and setback concerns for stair systems.
Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Date – 7/23/14 at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin: Our next Nearly Famous Seminar will be held at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin tomorrow night from 6 – 9 pm.
We’ll have Jeff Barton from Jeff Barton, architect offering advice on architectural and structural issues and Kathy Dotoli, Esquire sharing some legal tips and reminders about safely moving forward with your project. As always, I will be moderating and providing building commentary and comic relief.
Last year’s Manahawkin seminar was very popular and this year will be very well attended, so please call me at 732 300 5619 to reserve your space. We currently have 35 people confirmed and capacity of about 40, so make sure you call if you want to attend. I hate running out of handouts – and cookies. Light refreshments will be served.
SHRAP Funding – Correction from last blog: My mistake – the SHRAP program (which can help pay for rent or mortgages, provide appliances and supplies and pay for other additional soft costs) was discontinued on 6/30/14 but that is not to say that it won’t be reinstated in the future. Go on the www.renewjerseystronger.org website for more info. When/if it goes active again, everyone is qualified – you just have to apply.
RREM Path C has Quietly Died and is No More – Path B is the only Path to Rebuilding Happiness (other than winning the lottery and abandoning the RREM program – note that this is a partial repeat from the last 2 blogs): As all of you already know, or should know, the DCA announced that as of 7/1/14, Path C is no more. As of June 30, 2014, if you haven’t already signed up for Path C, you will not be able to (trust me – you are better off). There will be only Path B. As an important note, anyone who has signed up for Path C already is grandfathered in and your project will proceed normally under state guidance. To any Sandster stuck in Path C, we will keep you in our prayers. Please see the last 2 blogs for more detail about this subject or give me a call.
RREM – More Money!! Great! Where is it?? A continuation from the last blog, with an update from NJ.com over the weekend. The upshot is that we have managed to disburse just $133 million of the $1.1 billion we were allocated thus far in NJ. We awarded $367 million, but only disbursed $133 million to homeowners. That’s pathetic. Too many cooks peeing in the soup, methinks.
In the building trade, this is know as an MGF (Mongolian Cluster *&x$#!!%). That is where no one knows what anyone else is doing, but there is a furious amount of activity, which ultimately yields little result.
5600 people were initially awarded the RREM grant, and about half have signed grant awards and gotten started.
3300 others have just been moved off the wait list and an additional 2500 are waiting to be accepted.
We have a way to go before the November deadline if we want to keep the second $660 million portion of the $1.1 billion RREM grant.
Expect to see RREM push Sandsters to make decisions since there is no more ability to rely on Path C. You’ll have to take a position or drop out of RREM– and that’s the stimulus that will get the money spent in time for the November deadline. Please see the 6/29 Blog for more detail about this subject or give me a call.
We have managed to hire incompetent managers to oversee the RREM program, which hasn’t helped to date. With the elimination of Path C, Sandsters can now drive their own train and we will start seeing things happen.
Caution – “Smart Sandsters are careful to not pay too much ahead of time”: There was a lot of detail about this subject in the last blog so please go back and reread it if you haven’t already. As a note, Kathy Dotoli does a great job on this topic at the seminar with sound precautionary advice that is useful for everyone. Kathy will be focusing on this subject tomorrow night.
Senate President Sweeney blasts NJ for poor oversight: The 24 page Storm Sandy integrity oversight monitor report that was released last week was termed a whitewash by Sen. Sweeney, and that is probably very reasonable.
Although the report focused on individual projects in excess of $5 million, it is symptomatic of the balance of the RREM rollout. Sweeney has been vocal and insistent on clarity and transparency since the beginning and has repeatedly been rebuffed by the Christie administration. It comes down to a fundamental issue of responsibility – if there was simply an acknowledgement that mistakes were made and a commitment to fix them going forward, there would be substantially less concern about inefficiency and fraud. That transparency has not been forthcoming and there is little reason to believe it will be in the future. Though I generally do not agree with Sen. Sweeney’s politics, on this issue he is spot on and deserves credit for taking a position with the Christie administration’s clarity and willingness to disclose process, procedure and method. Chris Christie the former prosecutor would have had a field day with the current administration of the RREM program, and probably already indicted those responsible for the $150 million we’ve collectively squandered on “construction management” and “program oversight”. Governor Christie’s administration, while long on promises and rhetoric, has been seriously lacking in commitment, follow through, transparency and implementation. Such is life unfortunately. How quickly we forget, Governor Christie.
Good news – GAP funding will shortly be available to Path B recipients! That is outstanding news, an open secret and long overdue. (I mean, one would rationalize that without a Path C towards which to artificially direct valid Red Cross funding, GAP funding will now be available to Path B Sandsters, but that is unconfirmed though broadly acknowledged as of this date). Once again, great news. Remember, GAP funding is income based, so if you qualify you get it. $30,000 is $30,000 and I specifically know it will help bridge the gap for a lot of people.
Time Saving Note – Permits and zoning: If you’re eager to get started and waiting for the fall, you can apply for your zoning permit ahead of time, which will save a step when you turn in your building permit application. Most importantly, questions from zoning Nazis will arise ahead of time, and won’t hold up your project. Common issues and concerns are percent of stairs and entries that will be in the setbacks when the house is raised and showing grade & elevation points all over the proposed plot plan. Sadly, each township is different…L
Repeat from 6/23 & 6/29/14 Blogs – Sandsters – Call to Action! If you want to enjoy your house this summer but still want to be back in your elevated home before Thanksgiving or even the end of the year, you must start your design scope very soon. You will want to have your final plans, survey, plot plan, flood elevation certificate and permit packages ready to go immediately after Labor Day (for Thanksgiving) or October 1 (for end of year), which means you should have started already or be getting started in the next few weeks. If you still need a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, make sure you order it soon. You will need to call for electric, gas, phone and cable utility disconnects yourself, and your builder will generally handle water and sewer cut and cap services. When you do call for disconnects, make sure you request a date certain for the shutoffs.
The point is to not procrastinate too much longer if you want start in the fall and be back in your house before Thanksgiving. So stop pondering and pull the trigger!…JJ
New Sunset Beach Model arriving soon in Toms River! For those of you thinking of designing a new home, we’ve recently introduced a new model called the Sunset Beach. It’s a very different house with a distinct island look and feel. This model is being done in about 1800 square feet but can be as small as 1400 and as large as 2500 square feet. Send me an email if you want to check out the new plan. We’ll be starting the house soon on Rt 37 West in Pelican Island so stop by and see us.
Elevation – Repeat – Definition: Remember that elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. It’s easy to make a mistake with these descriptions and it causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home 5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.
You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, here is a link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVI69KoM8DRXqoEblHd94xg
It is not edited and is about 2 hours so feel free to fast forward and skip around to watch what you like and need to know.
Searching the Rebuilding after Sandy Blog for Your Topic: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. Just enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you’re interested in was discussed.
Special Feature for clients from Dream Homes: We take photos of all of our jobs on a regular basis and upload them to Dropbox. We then send a link to each client with their houses folder, so they can see what’s happening each day. Everyone seems to like this – you can feel very connected to the process even if you can’t be there.
Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.
Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We actually do all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.
That’s all for today Sandsters – generally good news and I hope it helps you. As always, call or write with any questions.
Dream Homes Ltd.
Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC
Licensed NJ New Home Builder License# 045894
Licensed NJ Home Improvement Contractor License# 13VH07489000
PO Box 627 Forked River, NJ 08731
Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802
Cell: 732 300 5619