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Vienna supervisor releases statement regarding towns flood prevention law

In 1984 FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) established regulations for the safety of life and property regarding flood plains. The resulting Town Flood Prevention Law was adopted in 1987 and revised in 1999 to conform with FEMA requirements. The town is tasked with enforcement. The DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) acts as the eyes and ears of FEMA.

Each of the nine DEC Regions randomly selects 10 municipalities annually for compliance inspections. Vienna was selected and inspected in July, 2008 and a public hearing was conducted on Sept. 3, 2008 by Albert Ash, DEC coordinator, who outlined the preliminary deficiencies to property and campground owners. It appeared that several property owners and campground sites were in violation in varying degrees.

The town received a letter from DEC dated April 13, 2009. The town's response began with a letter to the 40 identified property owners seeking information from each. In the meantime, the supervisor and codes officer called each property owner with an invitation to schedule a one on one meeting.

Many owners have met with the town and understand the seriousness of the matter. You may obtain a copy of the DEC letter of April 13, 2009 and the town's letter of April 22, 2009 by going to the Town's website at townofvienna.org.

On May 4, 2009 the supervisor and town attorney met with Assemblyman David Townsend, representatives from Senator David Valesky's office and key DEC officials at Assemblyman Townsend's office in Sylvan Beach. We experienced a frank but positive discourse. There will be a meeting with FEMA personnel in the near future.

Compliance with the Flood Prevention Law is important. It greatly reduces the risk to life and property during the challenge of the "100 year flood" and other flooding emergencies. Non-compliance has potential for increased risk to life and property with additional immediate consequences. Non-compliance will result in the cancellation of flood insurance. All mortgages requiring flood insurance would be in immediate default and in risk of foreclosure.

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