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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2009

SCHUMER CALLS ON FEMA TO REVIEW TOWN OF WHEATFIELD FLOOD ZONE APPEAL TO SAVE HOMEOWNERS FROM PAYING UNNECESSARY INSURANCE COSTS


After Town Paid for Costly Engineering Study, FEMA Removed More Than 60 Percent of the Homeowners From 100-Year Flood Plain Map So That Residents Could Have Relief From Unnecessary Insurance Costs

But A New Study Shows that Structures Still Remain in the Flood Plain Map Facing Costs of Up to $1,100 Per Home

In Letter to FEMA, Schumer Urges Agency to Support Town's Latest Appeal and Remove Homes Included in Flood Zone Based on Latest Study

After the Town of Wheatfield submitted their second flood map appeal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the agency to quickly review and support the town’s appeal, which was filed after the town disagreed with some of the latest findings in regards to flood maps for the town. FEMA has worked with town officials to remove more than half of the homes that were mistakenly added to the flood zones, but a number of structures remain, and families and business owners still face the prospect of a whopping annual flood insurance bill that could reach over $1,100.  

 

In an effort to help save homeowners in the Town of Wheatfield from costly, mandatory and unnecessary flood insurance fees, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on FEMA to support the latest appeal of the Town of Wheatfield, with the goal of removing the maximum number of structures from this most recent flood map.

 

“I’m glad that FEMA and the Town of Wheatfield have been working together to remove some of the mistakenly placed structures from the flood zone but many homes, businesses and structures are still at risk of paying costly, unnecessary insurance fees,” said Schumer. “These are very tough economic times and every day that goes by without removing these homes means more money out of the pockets of Wheatfield homeowners. I urge FEMA to quickly review and support the town’s latest appeal to remove many properties that that were recently added to the flood zone, and ones that have unnecessarily been included for a long time, particularly those in the Bergholz area.”

 

Last year, the residents and businesses of Wheatfield shouldered the cost of an engineering study that succeeded in removing more than 60% of the homes that FEMA claimed were in a new flood zone, and more have since been removed. While the town is pleased that FEMA has agreed with many components of their original appeal, they continue to disagree with some of FEMA’s most recent findings, especially regarding the area of Bergholz, due to more accurate data that was recently provided by the Town’s engineering firm.

 

Today, to help save Wheatfield homeowners from paying unnecessary fees, Schumer wrote a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, urging the agency to support the Town of Wheatfield’s latest appeal and remove the remaining homes that were inaccurately placed in the flood zone.

 

In the letter he wrote, “We must take every precaution to ensure the new flood maps are a precise representation of the flood zones so property owners are not saddled with a costly and unnecessary mandatory flood insurance bill. Again, I ask that FEMA support the appeal of the Town of Wheatfield, with the goal of removing the maximum number of homes from this most recent flood map.”

 

A full copy of the letter is below:

 

December 17, 2009

 

 

Craig Fugate

Administrator                                                    

Federal Emergency Management Agency

500 C Street S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20472 

 

 

Dear Administrator Fugate,

 

I write today to urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support the Town of Wheatfield’s appeal of FEMA’s latest findings in regards to flood maps for the town. The Town of Wheatfield commissioned thorough engineering studies that revealed inaccuracies in FEMA’s preliminary flood maps and FEMA has worked with town officials to remove many of the homes that were added to the flood zones. However, a number of structures remain and families and business owners still must face the prospect of an annual flood insurance bill that could reach over $1,100.  We must take every precaution to ensure the new flood maps are a precise representation of the flood zones so property owners are not saddled with a costly and unnecessary mandatory flood insurance bill.

 

Last year, the residents and businesses of Wheatfield shouldered the cost of an engineering study that succeeded in removing more than 60% of the homes that FEMA claimed were in a new flood zone, and more have since been removed. While the town is pleased that FEMA has agreed with many components of their original appeal, they continue to disagree with some of FEMA’s most recent findings, especially regarding the area of Bergholz. The engineering firm the town has been working with, Wendel Duchscherer, has submitted a new model for the Bergholz area which provides much more accurate data. With the town now appealing some of FEMA’s most recent decisions, the data of Wendel Duchscherer should be accepted so that the maximum number of structures can be removed and not be faced with the burden of paying for mandatory flood insurance. It should be noted that the Town of Wheatfield decided to fund this latest modeling based on their goal of providing the most accurate model.  I urge you to work with Wheatfield officials to reevaluate the flood maps based on the work that Wendel Duchscherer has completed.

 

With enormous costs to property owners at stake, Wheatfield officials have gone to great lengths to ensure a thorough and accurate flood mapping process, and I applaud FEMA for working with the town on this issue. Again, I ask that FEMA support the appeal of the Town of Wheatfield, with the goal of removing the maximum number of homes from this most recent flood map.  I look forward to hearing from FEMA on this important issue.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

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