To the Editor:
Since the meeting held at Village Hall on Jan. 2, I have chosen to wait patiently for the dust to settle and see where the problem with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood maps is situated. Unfortunately, I have not seen certain questions resolved and/or clarifications by the village forthcoming. I was waiting to obtain information from the village and FEMA that would answer the following:
1) Is the village accepting, rejecting or challenging the new flood zone maps revealed on Jan. 2? Is the village undertaking a Letter of Map Revision or any other type of formal action to set aside the maps revealed on Jan. 2?
2) Isn’t it a fact that, in the absence of action taken by the village to set aside flood zone maps placing 1,000 Valley Stream homes in the high-risk “AE” flood zone, the only action that individuals can take is the submission of a Letter of Map Amendment? Isn’t it true that a LOMA can easily cost an individual homeowner between $600 and $1,000? Isn’t it true that LOMAs have a relatively low success rate?
3) Did the maps revealed Jan. 2 restore Gibson to a base flood elevation of eight feet as it was before 2009?
4) Can lending institutions require flood insurance on homes in the AE and X flood zones when there are outstanding mortgages and credit lines?
5) If and when the new flood zone maps become effective, will flood insurance premiums remain at the preferred rate of about $400 per year for flood zones other than AE? In the event of future “Sandy” type disasters, will FEMA assist property owners without flood insurance?
These are questions that were either not answered clearly on Jan. 2 or not addressed at all. The answers to those questions will determine the future of Valley Stream.
Carol Crupi and I attended a meeting conducted in a nearby community this week with FEMA representatives in attendance. The community suffered significant damage from Sandy and has been informed that it is going to be affected by revised flood zone maps. We learned a great deal particularly with regard to your ability to fight your flood zone designation and the nightmare of flood insurance on the horizon.
The Valley Stream Community Association will be holding an informational general membership meeting for residents next week. I urge all residents, regardless of your flood zone designation, to attend. Look for an announcement of the date, time and place. If you thought that the FEMA flood zone problem was dead or resolved, please think again. It is back and in a form that may shake the very foundations of our community.
Joseph B. Margolin