Thursday, October 25, 2012

SIA Newsletter 10 25 2012 - Postal Service Town Meeting; Township Wants Feedback on Proposed Change in Flood Hazard Ordinance

To All Strathmere and Whale Beach Homeowners and Visitors,

Last night the US Postal Service held a "Town Meeting" at the firehouse to review the results of their survey, discuss proposed changes in service and receive feedback from the community. In addition to the two USPS representatives (and Gene), there were 23 Strathmerians in attendance.

The USPS representatives, Rosemary Fox of Marketing and Judy Herrick of Bellmawr Operations, said that because of the extreme financial pressures facing the USPS due to declining volume as a result of the Internet, they had first considered wholesale closing of post offices. Instead, they have elected to keep most post offices open but reduce the "window hours" of smaller offices to two, four or six hours. Based on volume (revenue), Strathmere qualifies for four hours daily. Other choices could be home delivery or closing the office and providing service at a nearby post office.
There were 62 surveys returned (of 115 mailed). Of those 62, 49 chose to go with a reduction of hours, five chose to have mail delivered to home, one chose the "nearby post office" option (presumably SIC), and seven returned the survey but made no selection. Thus, of those making a choice, 89% chose reduced hours.
After reviewing the survey results and looking at their operational needs, the Postal Service is proposing to change our Monday to Friday window service hours from the present 8:00 to 4:30, to 12:30 to 4:30. Postal boxes would continue to be accessible from 8:00 to 4:30. People picking up packages or purchasing stamps or other products would have to do it in the afternoon. No changes were proposed for Saturday. By having no postal employee in the post office until 12:30 on weekdays, the current day's mail would not be sorted and available until around 1:30 pm, as opposed to 9:00 am now.
Discussion from attendees indicated that most people preferred to have the ability to receive that day's mail in the morning, with a consensus quickly building around the hours of 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The office would close at 1:00 pm but a "time lock" on the door would permit access to boxes until 4:30. It was suggested that if there was to be a time lock provided, that access to boxes be extended to 6:00 pm, to accomodate people coming home from work. There seemed to be no disadvantage to extending the hours, except possibly to the Vandegrifts (landlords), and Debbie Vandegrift, who was in attendance, felt that this extension was acceptable.
One disadvantage to choosing morning hours for window service is that once the postal employee closes up at 1:00 pm, there will not be any way to collect outgoing mail until the next day. Nevertheless, the consensus felt that incoming mail was more important to them than outgoing and continued to prefer morning window hours.
The USPS representatives thanked everyone for their input, said that the whole purpose of the meeting was to collect feedback and promised to do their best to see that our preferences were met.
You may recall that at the September 14 SIA Meeting, Township Engineer Paul Dietrich discussed the reduction in flood insurance rates (now a discount of 15%) obtained by an improved rating from FEMA, and said that they would be pursuing ways to gain an even better rating and larger discount.
The Township Committee is now considering a revised ordinance (copy attached), that would raise the Base Flood Elevation and provide the Township with sufficient points to lower the CRS Class rating to Class 6 and provide an additional 5% discount (to 20%) on flood insurance premiums. In addition to lowering premiums, the proposal would encourage additional off-street parking.
Paul has asked us to pass this proposed ordinance along to members of the SIA.
The Township Committee would like to hear comments about this ordinance before they introduce it in November.
Paul says, "I have reviewed numerous flood elevation certificates from homes constructed during the last three years, and of those that elevated their house to provide parking beneath the structure, all would meet these new standards for raising the base flood elevation.
"The one additional provision that would change how homes are built would be the new requirement to limit the size of enclosures below the base flood elevation to 299 square feet and that space could only be used for storage, garage and utility uses. No habitable space would be permitted below the base flood elevation. Additionally, for any enclosure below base flood there would be a requirement to provide a deed restriction saying that the (present and subsequent) property owner would not convert that space to habitable living space.
The sections regarding substantial improvement and substantial damage are being revised to make properties eligible for grant money from their flood insurance company. The grant is called an ICC grant and properties would be eligible to receive grant money to raise their home if they have had flood damage to their home over the last 10 years such that the aggregate of the damage would exceed 40% of the value of the structure (not including the land value)."
Note that houses now under construction and those with approved permits would not be affected (except for the reduction in insurance premiums).
In order to apply for the class reduction the Township needs to adopt this ordinance before the end of this year. If they don’t then they will have to comply with a new set of regulations governing the CRS program that will be implemented in 2013. The point system is changing and no evaluation has been made as to how Upper Township would score under the new system.
Paul asks that anyone who has comments or questions regarding this proposed ordinance please contact him as soon as possible at or 609-628-2011, ext. 244.
Thank you - they would really like to get some feedback!

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Upcoming Events - mark your calendars:
Election Day, Tuesday, November 6
SFEC Meeting Saturday, November 10, 4:00 pm
Strathmere Community Christmas Party, Saturday, December 8, 6:00 pm
SFEC Meeting Saturday, December 15, 4:00 pm
Let us know of additions or corrections!
And again, check out Carol Baker's wonderful Strathmere History website at
Thanks for Celebrating Our Strathmere Centennial!
1912 - 2012
Thanks very much for your continuing support of the Strathmere Improvement Association!
Linda Bateman   
Elaine Holsomback      
Donna Diefenderfer       
Dorothy Addario       
Ken Weaver

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