She said she plans to sell her home in a few years, and the new designation will help. “It was really lowering the value of our property,” Cunningham said. “Now that I’m not in a flood zone, it will sell much easier.”
The village and town can appeal the flood maps. Valley Stream Mayor Ed Fare said he does not plan to do so, because it would hold up the residents who are slated to be removed from the flood zone. Rather, Fare said, the village will offer its assistance to anyone wanting to file an appeal.
Fare said he believes the new maps are much more accurate than the ones released in 2009, because it appears that FEMA did a more thorough job this time, including the use of the recently completed Jamaica Bay study.
“You don’t challenge whether you like or don’t like if you’re in a flood zone,” he said. “You have to challenge that the maps are wrong. I think it’s much more accurate.”
Fare said that Valley Streamers have been complaining for three years that the maps were inaccurate, and that FEMA has finally risen to the challenge of correcting them. While there could be some homes here and there that were mistakenly left in the flood zone, he said, there are areas of Valley Stream that are prone to coastal flooding, which was evident during Hurricane Sandy. Those vulnerable areas, including parts of Hungry Harbor Road — which was in the flood zone prior to 2009 — and the southwest corner of Mill Brook, remain in it.
“If you’re really in a flood zone, then you really want to prevent a catastrophic event,” Fare said. “If the map is totally correct and you’re in a flood zone, then you’re in a flood zone.”