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Friday, October 31, 2014
News
Hope for flood zone homeowners
Feds weigh flood insurance relief bill

With flood insurance rates set to rise for more than 800 Valley Stream homeowners who will remain in the high-risk flood zone, a bill currently making its way through the U.S. Senate could delay those increases for at least a year.

The 2014 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill includes a provision that would delay the implementation of flood insurance increases for a year. It would apply to all structures that were built in compliance with the requirements of a specific flood risk zone, then moved into another — meaning that Valley Stream homes that were added to the high-risk flood zone in 2009 would be able to take advantage of the break.

A similar Homeland Security bill passed in the House of Representatives, but an amendment extending the lower flood insurance rates did not. This does not mean the provision is dead, however. If it passes the Senate, it could be included in a final bill developed by a Senate and House conference committee. Stuart Chapman, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, said a resolution is still weeks, if not months, away.

“Congresswoman McCarthy has repeatedly fought to reduce the cost burden that flood insurance has caused for the people of Long Island,” Chapman said. “She is very disappointed that the House did not pass the amendment to freeze rates, but she will work with her Senate and House colleagues to fight for that provision. We need to make sure that Americans have access to reasonably priced flood protection to combat the horrible destruction caused by storms that rage across the U.S., whether you live on Long Island or somewhere else.”

More than 1,500 homes in Valley Stream will be removed from the high-risk zone after the village approved a new flood map on July 15. The map, created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was a revision of the controversial map that was approved in 2009.

However, 855 homes in the village that were added to the high-risk zone in 2009 will remain in it. Homeowners with federally backed mortgages are required to purchased flood insurance, and premiums for those in the high-risk zone could exceed $3,000 per year for maximum coverage.

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