When Winter Wanes It's Never Too Soon to Set Springtime Priorities

 Snow, ice, freezing, thawing, refreezing all take such a toll on New Jersey properties that it’s practically a cliché—but it’s a cliché that condo and HOA board members and managers have to deal with every spring.  

 Harsh weather and lack of regular maintenance during the winter can take a toll  on nearly every aspect of an HOA’s buildings and grounds. With all runoff, controlling storm water and snowmelt  on the ground becomes a major challenge.  

 And then there are the weather wild cards, as was the recent case with Hurricane  Sandy, a superstorm that devastated New Jersey, especially its shoreline, and  caused major headaches for New Jersey’s HOAs and homeowners. The hurricane’s effects were severe, with economic losses to businesses of up to $30 billion.  Over two million households in the state lost power in the storm, 346,000 homes  were damaged or destroyed and 34 people were killed. Storm surge and flooding  affected a large swath of the Garden State. Governor Chris Christie said the  losses caused by Sandy were "going to be almost incalculable...The devastation  on the Jersey Shore is probably going to be the worst we've ever seen.”  

 Recovery from this storm will take years, perhaps decades for some New Jersey  properties. According to Russell Fernandes, a professional engineer with Becht  Engineering in Liberty Corner, right now it’s still a wait-and-see proposition. “The engineering community has been making inspections on behalf of homeowners  and preparing specs and designs for the larger communities. A lot of the  homeowner associations are still waiting on insurance settlements. The recovery  is going slowly and it’s going to take a long time. The damage is unprecedented for this area. It’s going to take a long time to get back to anything close to normal.”  

 Steven Morris, the president of Morris Engineering in Somerville, also noted  that the progress varies by community. “Some towns had a greater delay of allowing people to get back in there. And then  it also depends on how individual HOA’s condo associations and property owners are approaching the repairs: some are  slow to jump on it and some are getting aggressive to make the repairs.  

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