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They met for rebuilding — and for prevention.

Howard Beach community leaders sat down with representatives of New York City’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) last week to discuss how funds would be appropriated to recover from Sandy, as well as plans to improve the community’s defense against future natural disasters.

Representatives from the mayor’s office said coastal protection, uncertainty over resources to rebuild, concern over future flood rates, lack of transit options and a need for small business support are some of the most pressing issues in Sandy-affected areas.

Many of those present disagreed with the city’s priorities when it came to distributing funds.

Dan Mundy, president of the Broad Channel Civic Association, suggested the city’s plan should closely mirror that of the state, most importantly in having reimbursements for homeowners who had to rebuild.

One participant noted there was a lack of coordination between FEMA and other city agencies, such as ConEd, in the case of people who had both a home and a small business that needed reconstruction following the storm.

Mundy also said he disagreed with many of the findings the city presented, most especially the flood zoning maps, calling them inaccurate.

“The maps seemed flawed,” he said. “They didn’t match up to what Sandy did.”

Mundy also said the maps did not explain how people in certain flood areas would be affected by the changes in zoning.

“It’s a complicated discussion,” he said. “It’s a big discussion but it’s worth getting into the details. Hopefully we see some changes”

Representatives from SIRR plan to continue meeting with residents of those strongly hit by Sandy over the next few weeks.

-BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

 

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