Work with us
Mostly Cloudy,59°
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Adopting flood map a beginning, not an ending

The Valley Stream village board’s decision to adopt a new flood map on July 15 was the right move, but this hardly ends the three-year-long battle for a more accurate map.

There are three good reasons why the village board needed to adopt the map.

First, Valley Stream’s residents and government have been lobbying for a more accurate map to ensure that homes are removed from the high-risk flood zone that don’t belong there. The Federal Emergency Management Agency decided that 1,549 homes in the village don’t belong on the latest map.

Second, if it failed to approve the map, the village would jeopardize its ability to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. Property owners would not be able to purchase flood insurance policies and existing policies would not be renewed, according to FEMA. The village and property owners would also risk losing out on federal disaster assistance.

As we learned during and after Hurricane Sandy, there are areas of Valley Stream that flood. Dozens of homes were damaged by the storm’s floodwaters, and those residents were fortunate to have flood insurance. They need to be protected.

And finally, FEMA and other federal officials listened to the outcry in Valley Stream following the adoption of a new map in 2009, which added almost 2,500 homes to the high-risk flood zone. That’s largely the reason why a new map was drawn less than four years later, revising the flood zone. Rejecting these FEMA maps — taking an all-or-nothing-now approach — would reduce the village’s leverage going forward.

So the village’s approval was necessary and right.

But the issue can’t end here. The new map should be thought of as progress, not as a conclusion. More than 800 homes added to the high-risk flood zone in 2009 still remain in it. Some of those homes probably belong there, but many others likely do not.

By their very nature, flood maps are inexact because they are based on a calculation of risk. It is impossible to predict future storms, and every storm behaves differently. There will always be some educated guesswork and reasonable assumptions involved in creating a map like this, but a combination of cutting-edge science and historical data must be used.


1 comment on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

Problem is if you are barely in a flood zone and never flooded you get $31,900 worth of free flood insurance from FEMA.

I you did not get water in Irene or Sandy odds are you are getting no water or very little water. You are forced to buy flood up to amount of mortgage. If you have a 250K house you have to buy 250K worth of flood.

Most folks who are forced to buy expensive unnecessary flood try to pay of mortgage asap and drop flood.

My Fema guy told me all the cheap houses from Katrina many folks refused to raise them and just paid off their mortgages and dropped flood. To them why pay 5k a year to insure a small shack if they are getting 31,900 from Fema and each year they can bank 5k. So now New Orleans has a higher percentage of homes with no flood insurance than pre-katrina.

Even worse folks with no flood first time around are ineligible for a second fema payment so they will be out on street.

Forcing high flood insurance in low cost places with low income folks backfires after a few years.

I have flood on my house, but at around the 3k point I would just drop it. I rather roll dice invest the 3k each year and hope it works out. Trouble is in first few years if flood hits and enough people do like I do the whole neighbor hood will look like a war zone with abondoned houses and folks with flood big deal, you rebuild you house nice on a street full of abandoned homes.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 | Report this
Terms of Use | Advertising | Careers | Contact Us | Community Links © 2015 Richner Communications, Inc.