State Funds to Help New Milford Residents Hit by Repeated Flooding
New Milford awarded $400K in state Blue Acres Funds to help acquire homes hit by repetitive flooding.
Senator Bob Gordon and Assembly members Connie Wagner and Tim Eustace announced Thursday that New Milford will receive $403,075 in state Blue Acres Fund to assist with the purchase of homes affected by repetitive flooding.
Blue Acres is a state program that acquires properties that experience repetitive loss, demolishes the structure and returns the property to open space. It falls under the umbrella of Green Acres, a program designed to preserve open space.
"This funding will help New Milford take a smart, long-term approach to mitigate the flooding that has caused nightmares for residents for many years now," said Gordon. "Rather than putting a band aid on the problem, we can finally start moving forward with a solution."
This funding, along with FEMA mitigation grants, will help New Milford cover the costs of acquiring five homes from willing homeowners whose homes have experienced repetitive flooding. The FEMA grants will cover 75 percent of home acquisition while the Blue Acres grant will cover the 25 percent local matching grant required by FEMA.
"Flooding has gotten increasingly worse for New Milford residents over the last few decades, making it all that much harder for homeowners wishing to sell their house," said Wagner. "Thankfully, the Blue Acres program will help them obtain fair market value so that they can find sanctity in a neighborhood outside of a flood-prone zone."
Flooding has been a persistent problem in New Milford. In November, after months of demands from residents and officials, representatives for United Water addressed flooding concerns in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
At that meeting, Rich Henning, a spokesman for United Water, told those in attendance that development in flood plains is largely to blame for New Milford's flooding problems.
Which is why SOD (Stop Over Development) New Milford's grass roots group is dedicated to fighting the proposed United Water property development. Parts of the property, they argue, sit within the boundaries of the flood plain. At the May 17 meeting of the Zoning Board, members of SOD grilled Hekemian's expert engineer, Michael Dipple, on the affects of the proposed development on increasing the flooding.
Dipple said that he considered flooding to be a "minor" constraint and testified that infiltration systems will be installed above and beneath the property to carry the water away from the property.
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