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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Flood Maps
Valley Stream's flood zone to shrink
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Tim Crowley, a regional director from FEMA, presented information about the new maps.

A good portion of Valley Stream is expected to be removed from the high-risk flood zone later this year, based on new maps released at a meeting at Village Hall on Jan. 2.

Nearly 1,600 homes in the village, primarily in the Gibson and Mill Brook neighborhoods, will come out of the flood zone. That will eliminate the mandatory flood insurance requirement for homeowners with federally backed mortgages.

Additionally, residents who are removed from the flood zone will be entitled to a refund for the past year of flood insurance premiums.

Valley Stream residents have been fighting to get out of the high-risk flood zone since 2010, a year after the Federal Emergency Management Agency enacted new maps that added about 2,500 homes in the village. They got the attention of federal officials, including Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who eventually pushed through legislation calling on FEMA to redraw Nassau County’s maps.

Schumer, who attended last week’s meeting, said he has been hearing for nearly three years from Valley Stream residents who said they were erroneously put into the flood zone. “It turns out that those of you who said that were right,” he said.

While he cautioned the crowd that the release of the new maps would not be good news for everyone, Schumer said that his office would work to get more homes out of the flood zone if residents feel they don’t belong there. He also encouraged village and town officials to give those residents any support possible.

After a 20-minute presentation in the packed courtroom by FEMA and elected officials, residents used several computer stations in Village Hall to determine whether their homes would be removed from the flood zone, and had the chance to ask questions about flood insurance.

Tim Crowley, a regional director for FEMA, said the meeting was structured that way, rather than as a question-and-answer session in the courtroom, so residents could get their specific questions answered. “For people, the real question is, are you in or out?” he said, adding that FEMA was keeping its commitment to providing people with answers. 

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