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  • Mamaroneck Observer

Update on Flood Mitigation

By Cindy Goldstein -

Village Manager Jerry Barberio gave his report on parallel flood mitigation efforts. He stated that dredging had begun on the Sheldrake River as the 5 required permits had been received and was moving quickly. See Permits HERE. The work is weather dependent and is occurring at the same time that Village workers are removing dead trees and other debris from the river. Barberio expects to have an update from the Army Corps of Engineers on their project at the September 26th BOT meeting.

It's been two years since Hurricane Ida devastated the Village and there were many Washingtonville residents at the meeting. Several residents addressed the Board calling for a moratorium on building in the flood plain until the Village code could be strengthened to better mitigate the flooding that repeatedly plagues the area. Bernie Camarda specifically addressed the dam and reservoir just outside the Village’s border and encouraged the BOT to keep pressure on Westchester County to help decrease flooding in Mamaroneck.

Tim O’Connor and Laura Abbate both requested a moratorium with Abbate asking for water and soil testing after each flood. Both pointed out the incidences of cancer in the Washingtonville area.

Editor’s Note: According to the NY Department of State a moratorium is “a local enactment that suspends a landowner’s right to obtain development approvals while the local government considers change to its regulations.” Before enacting a moratorium, local officials should be aware of the circumstances in which a moratorium is the most appropriate action to take as well as understand the basic requisites. A helpful NYS guide can be found HERE.

A moratorium must be enacted for a permissible purpose; to study and/or adopt new laws. It must also have a limited timeframe so the BOT would have to be ready to undertake a swift and comprehensive planning process. In other words, a moratorium cannot be open-ended, nor can the Board drag their feet to develop a plan and make any desired changes. Some courts have determined that a period of six months up to one year are reasonable timeframes.

As pointed out in the NYS guidelines, courts have established strict rules regarding the adoption of a moratorium. If a sloppy moratorium is found to deprive landowners of their rights there could be expensive litigation and an eventual financial award to landowners who prevail in court.

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