To the Editor:
Attention Darien residents. A few weeks ago, Jeremy Ginsberg, director of Darien’s Planning & Zoning Department, sent a letter to the owners of more than 400 properties notifying them that FEMA had re-drawn the 100 year flood map within the Goodwives and Stony Brook flood plains. Properties that had previously not been included within the 100 year floodplain had some, if not all, of their property now in the flood zone. Why should you care? Read on.
Properties within the new flood lines, a large number of which had previously never experienced flooding either on surface or within the borders of their physical residence, are now required to have flood insurance and will most likely experience property devaluation. Many of these properties had no flooding during the multiple storms that caused damage in town during 2006 – 2007.
Residents have been turning to Planning & Zoning for weeks with insufficient or no answers to vital questions: Who is in charge of this mapping? Who sent the new flood lines to FEMA? Why can’t Milone & MacBroom, the company hired by the selectmen to validate flood lines, provide insight into criteria used to redraw the lines/set minimum elevation levels? Who walked properties/watercourses to validate mapping criteria used? Why are the maps so difficult to use to see how residential homes are affected? What are the legal implications for residents and the town?
The real issue relates to property elevations against the redrawn flood lines. Not one person at Town Hall can explain what the minimum elevations are regarding physical properties within the newly drawn maps. Homes or properties that have never flooded in the history of Darien are now being included in the flood maps, with serious consequences. Public hearings are not required to be held for redrawn flood lines.
Despite numerous calls from residents to Jayme Stevenson, as well as other selectmen, not a single call has been returned. This is becoming as mysterious as the disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370. We have less than 90 days before the FEMA flood lines become permanent. Jeremy Ginsberg has advised residents to “sit tight.” The selectmen are woefully silent.
On May 21, 8 p.m. at Town Hall, the Darien Board of Realtors is holding a public forum on the new flood insurance requirements and what you need to know. If you live within the Goodwives or Stony Brook Flood Plain, be there. And, start calling your selectmen, your congressmen, senators and P&Z to demand answers and request that Milone and MacBroom, the town’s flood management advisors, provide answers. Now.
42 Hamilton Lane