Adoption of flood map was only choice
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Certain individuals have formed a “civic” organization. They have held sparsely attended meetings on the FEMA issue. They even brought in an expert to discuss challenging the FEMA maps at the village’s expense. This process would cost millions of taxpayer dollars to challenge every parcel of land in the village. Even their own expert, who would have loved to take the village’s money, stated that challenging the FEMA maps would be an “impossible undertaking.”
In the past we have tried to work with the “civic” organization to reach an understanding on the FEMA issue. It has been fruitless. There are too many hidden and not-so-hidden agendas to reach an accord.
As I stated earlier, FEMA, love it or hate it, appears to have its act together, and the state DEC concurs. Valley Stream has joined Lynbrook, Cedarhurst and the Town of Hempstead in adopting the new flood maps. We are in FEMA Region ll. All of the municipalities in Region ll have voted to accept the maps. Valley Stream was the last to adopt because the board wanted to explore all options thoroughly before it took action.
The flood map issue is an ongoing process, and the fight goes on for our residents who we feel are unduly placed in flood hazard areas and who do not qualify for the preferred risk policies. In the weeks and months ahead, the village will continue to work with federal officials on both sides of the aisle, with FEMA and the state, to help the 855 properties left in the high-risk flood zones.
Robert D. Barra is the Valley Stream village clerk and a former state assemblyman for the 14th District.