It was all flood talk at the Rye City Council meeting tonight, with Mayor Otis reporting initial estimates show over $80 million dollars in damage due to the flooding in Rye on April 15th. Otis reported speaking to just about any and all public figures about Rye’s flooding including Governor Spitzer, Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Lowey, the regional head of the Army Corps of Engineers and the national head of FEMA.
Council members and Rye residents spoke eloquently about the flood, its impacts and possible solutions. In addition to the $80 million number provided by Otis, several residents including Lisa Murphy of Houlihan Lawrence real estate maintain the flooding has caused a $100 million dollar loss in property value across the city–in particular in Indian Village and around Beaver Swamp.
Various flood mitigation measures were discussed by the Mayor, the council and Rye residents including those from a new committee called the Rye Flood Action Committee. Items discussed include the Bowman Avenue dam and how to hold its water retention ability, preventing land development by a developer that owns 1/3 of the Bowman Avenue property in Rye Brook, using the pond at the old General Foods building for retention, using an old rock quarry/pond in Rye Brook for water retention, raising the height of Rye bridges and pursuing Harrision to disclose their plans about filling part of Beaver Swamp Brook. Councilman Andy Ball called again for the appointment of a flood czar for Rye who would be charged with pushing flood mitigation solutions. The Council passed a hazard mitigation plan that had been under consideration prior to the flooding and discussed possible emergency financing to cover flood damage that may not been covered by State or Federal funds.
According the Councilman George Pratt, twenty-five percent of all housing stock in Rye is in a flood zone. Look for flood mitigation to the stay on the agenda for the foreseeable future. The City generally received high marks at the meeting (and during the flood response after the March 2nd and April 15th events).