Few answers at flood map meeting
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Carol Crupi, president of the Valley Stream Community Association, said the problem is with the base flood elevations. When the new maps were drawn in 2009, FEMA set the minimum property elevation at 11 feet, 4 inches in Valley Stream to be excluded from the flood zone, instead of the previous eight feet. That change put thousands of homes into the zone, and Crupi said those properties will remain there unless the base flood elevation is changed. “Until that is lowered back to the eight foot level,” she said, “all of this is a moot point.”
Joseph Margolin, a board member of the Valley Stream Community Association, said residents have been asking FEMA for three years why the base flood elevation was changed and has yet to get a straight answer. He, like others, was frustrated with Caetano’s lack of information on Monday night, especially on questions that have been asked previously. “There’s no excuse for you being here without the answers,” he said.
Margolin said that, by executive order, President Barack Obama could simply remove Valley Stream for the flood zone, and he called on Meeks to suggest that to the president, someone Meeks described as a friend.
Another concern among residents was that several homeowners are paying higher flood insurance premiums than necessary. Beginning in 2011, residents added to the flood zone in September 2009 became eligible for the reduced Preferred Risk Policy rate of about $400 per year, instead of $2,000 or more. However, several residents, including Linda Kettering, said some banks and insurance companies are charging more than the PRP rate.
Kettering added that she was concerned that these companies are not being informed by FEMA about rate reductions, and which homes are eligible for the lower premiums.
Because FEMA sets the flood insurance rates, Caetano said that the agency must do better in communicating with insurance companies and banks, to ensure that homeowners are not being overcharged.