A three-year battle for flood map reform
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Margolin said he would like village officials to challenge the maps, but expects that they won’t. “They’re doing exactly what they did four years ago,” he said. “If the village were really concerned, if they really understood the financial ramifications of having 1,000 people in the flood zone, they would realize it’s a fight for everyone in the village.”
Crupi agrees. “If they don’t challenge, it will be the same situation,” she said. “As much as I want to come out of the flood zone, I want to see it done right.”
Margolin added that the residents will continue their fight, with or without assistance from the village. Fare said even if the village doesn’t challenge the maps, it will provide homeowners with support to file individual appeals.
Many Valley Streamers point to Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy this past October as proof that most of Valley Stream doesn’t belong in the flood zone.
During Sandy, some homes in the far south end did flood, including part of Mill Brook and along Hungry Harbor Road. Fare said some streets in Gibson also flooded, but the water failed to reach the homes.
Fare noted that Irene and Sandy were different types of storms. “We got a real good gauge on a rain event and a coastal event,” he said. “What we haven’t gotten is what happens if we get both at the same time. I’m not wishing that upon us.”
Crupi said she is doubtful that Hurricane Sandy was considered in the creation of the new maps. Describing the revised maps as “peculiar,” Crupi said if Sandy were factored in, more homes would be coming out of the flood zone.
Marc Tenzer, president of the Mill Brook Civic Association, said Sandy shows there are some areas of Valley Stream that are vulnerable to flooding, and buying insurance is definitely practical in those areas. His issue, however, is making the purchase mandatory. That’s why, he said, residents left in the high-risk zone should appeal their designation.
Fare said that flood insurance could actually become more valuable, as FEMA announced it might no long bail out residents who suffer flood damage and don’t have insurance. He said residents who pay for flood insurance aren’t getting nothing for their money — they are, in fact, getting protection.