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Saturday, October 25, 2014
Civic News
Few answers at flood map meeting
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Congressman Gregory Meeks said his goal is to get Valley Stream out of the flood zone.

Valley Stream residents didn’t get many answers during an often contentious meeting about the status of federal flood maps on Monday night at the Forest Road School. About 100 residents attended the meeting hosted by the Mill Brook Civic Association, and many were upset that a representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency came with no new information.

Several months ago, Congress passed a law requiring FEMA to redraw the flood maps in Nassau County, believing that current maps, which went into effect in September 2009, are flawed. FEMA spokesman Don Caetano said he expects to have an update on the progress of those new maps in four to six weeks.

That had residents questioning why a meeting was even called if no new information was available. Caetano said he wanted to speak to the residents in person, rather than canceling the meeting.

Also in attendance was Congressman Gregory Meeks, who represents the 6th District. However, beginning in 2013, his current district will shift to include part of Valley Stream, including Mill Brook. Meeks said he knows that the flood maps are a concern in the community, and attended Monday’s meeting so, if re-elected, he is be well apprised of the specific concerns. “I’m here to listen, and then work with FEMA to make it happen,” he said.

Meeks said he understands that the flood maps in Valley Stream need to change, and residents would not find it acceptable if all or most of the community remains in the high-risk flood zone when new maps are proposed.

Mill Brook resident Robert Linton said the requirement for flood insurance is simply unnecessary. “The biggest flood I’m going to get is from my upstairs bathroom overflowing,” he said.

“We got hit with flood insurance that we feel is unnecessary,” added Diane Pearsall. “I’ve been here 15 years and I haven’t seen a flood yet.”

Linton called on FEMA to immediately suspend the requirement for homeowners to purchase flood insurance until the new maps are drafted and accepted. “You’re supposed to be working for us,” he told Caetano. “But you’re not.”

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