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Mayor de Blasio, FEMA announce plans to revise NYC flood maps

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Eyewitness News reporter N.J. Burkett has more. (Shutterstock)

FEMA is backing down and revising its flood maps for New York City.

The agency aggressively mapped some areas as flood zones after Superstorm Sandy, but got a deluge of complaints from homeowners who were forced to buy expensive flood insurance.

"You're really looking at a problem, because anyone who is paying a mortgage is actually looking to take on a second mortgage now just to pay for insurance," said Palmer Doyle, a Rockaway Beach resident.

Doyle was worried and so were his neighbors in the Rockaways.

People raised and rebuilt their homes after Superstorm Sandy only to find themselves facing the prospect of sky-high insurance rates.

That's because FEMA quietly re-drew the maps, effectively tripling the number of homes in their 21st century flood zone.

The de Blasio administration challenged FEMA, insisting towering new sand dunes and sea walls have left coastal neighborhoods far better protected. They added that the federal government was overestimating the potential impact of future storms.

FEMA has now agreed to re-draw the maps again.

"The city is working diligently to make sure we have the right investments in place to reduce flood risk, that we are actively advocating with the federal government to make sure that we are keeping flood insurance available and affordable, and the result from today's map is one more piece of that," said Dan Zarrilli, Senior NYC Director for Climate Policy.

City officials said as many as one third of homes in the new FEMA flood zone didn't belong there.

Doyle insists it was unreasonable.

"You have people who were paying $400 or $500 for flood insurance, and they are looking at in a five year period, possibly going up in the neighborhood of $20,000, depending on where you live. So we're holding fast, but if they didn't do this and work with FEMA and the city, we'd be looking down the road at some horrible, horrible premiums. You know, we'd be in trouble," Doyle said.

To see where your house falls on the existing flood maps or for any flood-risk information, visit FloodHelpNY.org.
Related Topics:
newsMayor Bill de Blasiobill de blasioFEMAclimate changeNew York City
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