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Much of Howard Beach is placed in Zone AE under the new flood maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but several blocks on the west side of the neighborhood and higher areas, including Lindenwood, are in the less risky Zone X.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency released Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for New York City last week that reflect the latest updates to the agency’s redrawing of the coastal flood zones.
The Preliminary FIRMs replace the Preliminary Work Maps that were released in June as an interim product. Those maps, placed much of Howard Beach into a new zone, Zone A, would require residents to have flood insurance and take measures, such as raising their homes, or risk substantially higher flood insurance premiums.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last Friday that he will allocate $50 million from the state’s share of the $67 billion federal Hurricane Sandy aid package toward rebuilding protective marshland in Spring Creek Park to serve as a stronger barrier between Howard Beach and Jamaica Bay and alleviate future flooding in storms like Sandy.
The project, developed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, will involve excavation, recontouring, and revegetation to establish a self-sustaining system of wave-dampening barriers to reduce storm damage on the south and west coasts of Howard Beach. It would also make the land, which is a public park, into a more inviting and functional space.
Congratulations on the anniversary coverage of last year’s superstorm. The lucky residents who were untouched by the flooding, weeks of power outages and loss of homes, cherished possessions and vital records need these reminders of the hardships others faced and surmounted.
Driving through Broad Channel last month, we were amazed at how normal it looked. So many homes were repaired. At the office in Arverne of “Build It Back,” we noticed that the new development there seemed unscathed. We learned that the homes were built to defy the forces of severe storms. Shouldn’t this be required in all low-lying areas?
It is shameful that insurance costs are prohibitive through FEMA increases. Our legislators must find a way to prevent another disaster without flood insurance bankrupting families and businesses. We applaud the efforts of our state assemblyman, Phil Goldfeder, and others who are pushing back against these costs which will doom whole neighborhoods.
For all of us who survived and are able to repair and restore our losses, we surely have reasons to celebrate this Thanksgiving. May all who need assistance get it swiftly.
After 43 years in Jackson Heights, the main campus of Plaza College will call Forest Hills home starting next September.
Plaza College has agreed to a 15-year, 40,000-square-foot lease with Muss Development LLC and will move into the first two floors of the Forest Hills Tower at 118-35 Queens Blvd. The move of the main campus from Jackson Heights, where the school has been located since 1970, is designed to celebrate the school’s upcoming 100-year anniversary in 2016.
Those concerned over the possibility of massive flood insurance rate hikes can breathe a sigh of relief. At least for now.
Congress unveiled a deal struck last week to postpone the rate hikes that started taking effect last month because of the Biggert-Waters Act, a 2012 law that sought to put the cash-strapped National Flood Insurance Program, administrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on more solid financial footing.
Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced this week that New York State is set to receive an estimated $6.3 billion in further Sandy-relief funding in 2014.
The money is allocated from the $61 billion Sandy aid package that was approved earlier this year by Congress. According to Schumer, less than one-third of the money has been spent.
A bipartisan deal has been struck in Congress that aims to avoid the hikes in flood insurance rates under a 2012 law that could lead to some residents paying thousands of dollars a year in flood insurance premiums.
The bill, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, was introduced this week by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) in the House of Representatives and Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) in the Senate. Waters is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and co-sponsor of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, the law the new bill seeks to change.
From Sara Barbera’s kitchen, the view outside the great window is like a painting canvas. The crystal blue water of Hawtree Creek, the vivid green of the coastal flora, the white clouds shimmering in front of the seemingly endless blue sky. It could be easily mistaken for a painting if not for the moving water or flying birds.
But if everything has a downside, Barbera’s is that her house bore the brunt of Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge one year ago.
Nearly 365 days ago, Hurricane Sandy came in as a force of destruction, but what came next was a force of unity and strength that no storm can take from us. In what seemed like a tunnel with no end in sight, days turned into weeks and then months and now we realize how far we’ve come. There are still enormous tasks ahead of us.
Almost 85 percent of the people I represent were affected by Sandy, including my own home and office. The destruction displaced my family and gave me an intimate experience in the tragedy. I have been on the front lines since the beginning of the storm and many days have tested my resolve, but seeing the strength of my own wife, Esther, and my young children, Eliana and Asher, willed me to keep going.
Broad Channel resident Dan Mundy Jr. speaks at a rally against the Biggert-Waters Act at Broad Channel’s American Legion Hall on Saturday.
The crowd grew so large last Saturday, one resident said the population of Broad Channel may have doubled. The neighborhood’s American Legion Hall on Cross Bay Boulevard could not hold everyone who showed up for South Queens’ rally against flood insurance premium hikes that begin this month.
It was just one of dozens of rallies held across the country at the same time, including in coastal communities in Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Massachusetts and floodprone areas in states like Iowa and Illinois. The rallies were held in protest to the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, a bill that supporters said seeks to put the National Flood Insurance Program on solid financial footing, but opponents fear will lead to the decimation of coastal communities like Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways.
Survivors of Hurricane Sandy in southern Queens and the Rockaways worried about increasing flood insurance rates will rally in Broad Channel Saturday, calling for Congress to postpone implementation of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act that will cause flood insurance rates to go up for homes damaged in Hurricane Sandy. The rally will take place at noon Sept. 28 in front of the American Legion Hall at 209 Cross Bay Blvd.
The Biggert-Waters Act, passed as part of a larger appropriations bill just weeks before Sandy, removes some subsidies given to homeowners to make flood insurance more affordable. Proponents of the law say the subsidies are wasteful, premiums should be tied to market rates and that the subsidies made it more financially feasible to build more expensive structures in flood-prone areas.
The entire Shady Park in Long Island City is finally open.
Ten months ago Hurricane Sandy ripped eight large trees that gave Andrews Grove its nickname, damaged play equipment and ruined the fence surrounding the park.
Back in February, Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) won a special election to fill the seat vacated when state Sen. James Sanders (D-Jamaica) was sworn into office.
On Tuesday he will square off against challengers Ricardo Brown, a certified public accountant, and community activist Michael Duncan in a primary for the Democratic nomination for a full term in the newly redrawn 31st District.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), left, was joined by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Friday on a tour of the FEMA center in Forest Hills.
The facility, located at 118-35 Queens Blvd., is in the same building as Meng’s new Forest Hills office, which opened a few weeks ago.
The World’s Fair Marina, which sustained some damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy, received $2.3 million from FEMA to make necessary repairs.
Recently released FEMA funds totaling $2.3 million will allow the city to repair and restore the World’s Fair Marina, which suffered considerable damage during Hurricane Sandy.
The money is part of a $22 million package awarded to the city last week for hurrican damage.
City offers more data on campaign finance
Seeking to alleviate concerns from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and civil liberties groups over the separation of church and state issues regarding a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to aid houses of worship damaged by Hurricane Sandy, two U.S. senators have introduced a new measure that would limit the aid to repairs of their physical structures.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), standing, asks Greg Coulson of FEMA, left, a question during a town hall meeting focusing on the recovery from Hurricane Sandy at St. Helen’s Father Dooley Hall on Sunday.
Most of Howard Beach is now in the first priority evacuation area for hurricanes, according to new city maps that identify zones to be evacuated in the event of another major storm. The maps, which increased the number of zones from three to six, add another 600,000 people citywide into areas that could be evacuated in case of another hurricane, including tens of thousands in Queens neighborhoods originally not in the zones like Elmhurst, Woodhaven and Jamaica.
According to the city, just under three million people — more than a third of the city’s total population on — lives in an evacuation zone.
If the two previous town hall meetings in Howard Beach discussing the neighborhood’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy were any indication, many entered St. Helen’s Father Dooley Hall on Sunday afternoon prepared for a showdown; a raucous meeting of angry, frustrated and confused homeowners loudly expressing their concerns and obstacles in the recovery from the community’s worst disaster, perhaps in it’s history.
But that’s not what happened Sunday. Whether it was the length of time since Sandy — almost eight months to the day — or the tone of the questions asked, the town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), featuring re
presentatives of the Department of Financial Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, yielded answers to a number of questions. Those inquires, including “Do I have to raise my house?” and “Will Build It Back, the new city-sponsored recovery program, help pay for what insurance and FEMA didn’t?” were not answered with “I’ll get back to you,” but rather something substantive.
The process of bringing big-name stores, companies and vendors into the city has proven difficult for many businesses. It is a gamble and often requires a lot of community outreach.
So when it was announced that an operator had finally been selected for the city’s first casino, right here in Queens, administrators of what would become Resorts World Casino New York City knew they had to make it about the community.
(StatePoint) Hurricane season has arrived and it is time to take steps to financially insure your home against flooding.