Sagaponack to Okay FEMA lines

Posted on 14 May 2009

Last week at their trustees meeting, North Haven Village adopted the “limwa,” or “limit moderate wave action,” regulations proposed by FEMA in regards to flood maps. This week Sagaponack Village also discussed the new guidelines.

Mayor Donald Louchheim informed the board that he and village attorney Anthony Tohill spoke at length on Tuesday morning about the limwa line regulations.

“[Tohill] said it is sound municipal policy to regulate and limit construction in the beach zone,” reported Louchheim. In Louchheim’s conversations with the village attorney, Tohill added that the municipalities who choose not to enact the new regulations will not be entitled to flood insurance for the entire municipality. Louchheim noted that it is next to impossible to obtain a mortgage from a bank without adequate flood insurance.

“We have no choice but to do it,” said Louchheim, who asked Tohill why FEMA made the adoption of the regulations optional. Louchheim reported that Tohill’s estimation was FEMA wanted to minimize federal exposure to insurance claims.

Louchheim also voiced reservations with regards to FEMA putting pressure on municipalities to increase the height limitations of buildings. He reported that Tohill said that this was not the case and that most municipalities who enacted the regulations will not change their height limitations. Louchheim said Tohill added that it will not necessarily change the appearance of homes.

The village must send a draft copy of the regulations to New York State Department of Conservation, and must bear in mind the August 25 deadline to reply to FEMA. The regulations, if adopted, must be enacted by September 25.

By adopting the limwa line regulations, Sagaponack Village will follow suit with nearby municipalities like Sag Harbor, North Haven and Quogue, who have all enacted these regulations.

Following Trustee Lisa Duryea Thayer’s report on the zoning board of appeals and the architectural and historical review board, Louchheim added that these boards might see a record number of home construction applications in the next month as people anticipate the adoption of the new FEMA regulations.

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