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Thursday, October 23, 2014
Village News
Flood map decision nears in Valley Stream
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
New flood maps, which were unveiled to the public in January, will be up for discussion at Valley Stream Village Hall on July 15.

Valley Stream residents will get their say on July 15 on proposed new flood maps that would remove more than 1,500 homes in the south end of the village from the high-risk flood zone.

The village has until July 16 to accept or reject the new maps, which were created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In January, FEMA presented the revised plan to the community at a packed meeting at Village Hall. It is expected that the Board of Trustees will approve the maps in an effort to give homeowners relief from the flood insurance requirement. “I can’t see a benefit to saying no,” Mayor Ed Fare said.

According to village officials, 1,572 homes, primarily in the Gibson neighborhood, will be removed from the high-risk flood zone.

In 2009, about 2,500 homes in Valley Stream were added to the zone. Residents holding federally backed mortgages were forced to buy flood insurance, with annual premiums exceeding $2,000 for some. Last year, a study of Jamaica Bay was completed as part of an effort to redraw flood maps for Queens, which led to some changes in the Nassau County maps as well.

“There’s no questions that these maps are more accurate,” Fare said. “They should have been accurate the first time around. Are they perfect? I doubt it, but they’ve got to be better.”

Nonetheless, several leaders in the fight against the flood maps, which is entering its fourth year, want village officials to think carefully before adopting the maps. They say there are still errors. “The new flood maps I consider to be preposterous,” said Joseph Margolin, a board member of the Valley Stream Community Association. “As far as I can see, there’s no logic to the maps.”

Margolin noted that several hundred homes would remain in the flood zone, even in areas that have no history of flooding. These homes will be very difficult, if not impossible, to sell, he said, because of the high insurance premiums and the stigma of being in a flood zone.

Margolin said he has asked the village to hire independent engineers to validate the flood zone, and planned to question board members about why this hasn’t been done at Monday’s hearing.

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