MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Flooding in Mamaroneck following heavy storms is nothing new to homeowners and businesses, but how to manage flood zones to prevent damage in the future is a hot issue that sparks debate from all sides.
“This has been an ongoing problem in the Village of Mamaroneck,” said Mayor Norman Rosenblum.
Local village laws are what concern Rosenblum and other community members.
Chapter 186-2 of the Code of the Village of Mamaroneck, Flood Damage Prevention, defines cumulative substantial improvement as, “Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure that equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure at the time of the improvement or repair when counted cumulatively for 10 years.”
As defined further in the village code, the term “cumulative” in this statement means that any home or business that has had damage on two separate occasions totalling more than 25 percent, or on any one occasion, totaling more than 50 percent, or building improvements during a 10-year period totaling 50 percent or more of the property value will have to raise all of its main structures 2-feet above main sea level to legally comply with zoning laws.
“The most important concern is this law,” said Rosenblum, who called the terminology “financially ridiculous.”
With this law in place, he said he is worried home and business owners are going to walk away from their properties.
“If you are in winter, and your boiler goes out, and that puts you over the 50 percent mark for cumulative substantial improvement, you’re not going to be able to move your whole structure above sea level,” he said. “It doesn't make sense.”
At the last two Board of Trustees meetings, in which there were public discussions about removing the terminology, residents took the podium to discuss their concerns. Some argued continual damage and improvement in these areas cause Westchester County citizens extra dollars when federal money and county grants are awarded to repair the same establishments again and again.
The topic will be discussed once more at this Wednesday’s Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the courtroom at 169 Mount Pleasant Road. If the commission passes the terminology as consistent with the Local Water Revitalizations Plan, than the Board of Trustees can vote on the matter at its next meeting in September.