Mamaroneck residents upset over not being informed about $70 million flooding plan

MAMARONECK, Westchester County (WABC) -- Homeowners in Mamaroneck in Westchester County claim no one talked to them about a flooding plan before it was released.

The 700-page report from the Army Corp of Engineers calls for 50 private property owners to give up land so a wide, deep channel can be built to divert water from homes.

It claims none of the residents had any objection to the $70 million project. But homeowners say they only learned about it when they got a letter in the mail.

Ivy Strauss has marked off with yellow tape the section of her backyard that may be swallowed up, not by flood waters but by the federal government.

The Strauss' are one of 85 property owners in Mamaroneck who have received notice that their land may be impacted by a flood mitigation project planned by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

"The frustration for us is that the way the Army Corps set up to answer questions we don't get answers," said homeowner Gary Strauss.

It's been nine years since a Nor'easter devastated the village which sits where the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake Rivers meet.

The rising waters forced evacuations and dozens of homes were badly damaged.

Many residents lost nearly all of their belongings. For years, local and state officials have fought to secure federal help and they are close - the first phase of the project is fully funded.

"If we don't do it now we're not going to get the funds. The village could never afford to do this by itself," said Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum.

He says concerns about which properties will be impacted and by exactly how much are premature.

The Army Corps has yet to conduct the engineering phase of the project, which would cost $70 million.

"In any project there will be people not in favor it and nothing is ever perfect in that. But if you balance it out the overall project will improve not only the quality of life but the continued vibrancy of the village of Mamaroneck," said the mayor.

Still the Strauss' have many questions, and do object to a finding in the Army Corps draft report which states, "no opposition has been expressed by public or private persons".

"We would be happy to contribute a piece of our backyard if we felt this was the answer that Mamaroneck needed, but when we look at the 700 page document and all the other back and forth, we don't get it," said Gary Strauss.
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