NJ homeowner's rebuilding on hold - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Superstorm Sandy

NJ homeowner's rebuilding on hold

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NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

Eric Katz's New Jersey home remains heavily damaged more than five months after Hurricane Sandy hit. His story of damage isn't unique, but what it will take to fix this place up is.

Katz always knew he wanted live on the water.

"When I was young I visited a friend of mine down on the water to spend weekends for the summer," Katz said. "I just knew I had to do that one day and that's how I ended up here."

In 2009, he purchased a ranch-style home in Toms River.

But only two weeks after he finished renovations, Superstorm Sandy left 18 inches of water in his home, something Katz never expected.

"When I left I even put a vacuum in the slop sink thinking it was a joke, like in case water does come, I'll have a vacuum," he said.

And while rebuilding has been difficult for most sandy victims, Katz has an added challenge.

"I stopped walking when I was 15, it didn't really affect me that much," he said. "But now, everything that I've worked for I've put into this house, and it's gone.

Katz painstakingly built his home to be wheelchair accessible.

"I also have a ramp in the backyard, so I could access the backyard," he said. "And there was a ramp also right on the side by the kitchen.

But since Sandy hit, Katz's home has been rezoned. He will have to raise his house 3 feet if he wants affordable flood insurance.

"If I have to raise the house to where they want me to raise it, I would not be able to fit the ramps, let alone the length of them would be extremely long," he said.

Katz has started rebuilding thanks to a $30,000 grant from FEMA and donations via the website gofundme.com. But he has temporarily halted construction until the town maps are finalized in August.

"It makes no sense to put money into this house as a v-zone because it would be cheaper to either walk away, or just knock down the house and start from scratch," he said.

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