HIGHLANDS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – In the wake of superstorm Sandy, there is a radical proposal to raise all of downtown Highlands.

It’s getting mixed reviews in the borough with a total population of about 5,000.

“We’re having a hard enough time. I think it’s delusions of grandeur. We had many businesses that were abandoned before the flood,” Donna Ross, who owns the Sandwich deli on hard-hit Shore Drive.

Bruce Kutosh of the borough zoning board favors the idea.

“We can have a lot of foreclosures. We can have abandoned houses and we got abandoned houses already in this town, and that’s gonna hurt the town,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

Mayor Frank Nolan said he wants to ensure Highlands isn’t wiped entirely off the map.

“Most of the world has no idea what we are going through,” said zoning board member Art Gallagher.

83 percent of the town’s 1,500 homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy, he said.

“They say ‘Oh, are you back to normal yet?’ We’re not gonna be back to normal for years,” he told Diamond.

Most of the 1.4-square-mile borough on Monmouth County’s bay shore is below sea level, and is fighting for its very existence.

“Somebody could make a valid argument, ‘Well, you know, we shouldn’t build here at all and we never should have’ except yeah but we did, and now what?” he said.

The Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing the proposal.

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