Homeowners Carmine Aufiero, left, Susan Miles and Ryan Schneider, with...

Homeowners Carmine Aufiero, left, Susan Miles and Ryan Schneider, with 1-year-old son Johnny, stand in Linwood Avenue on Thursday. The homeowners are among the families on the avenue who filed notices of claim against public agencies to try to recover money they spent on home repairs after a September storm.  Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Linwood Avenue in Farmingdale looks like many residential neighborhoods on Long Island — except when it rains.

That's when residents start to look anxiously out their windows, waiting to see if the water will rise and invade their homes like on Sept. 29.

That day, their fears were realized when a flood engulfed the street and spilled into their homes, filling basements and destroying children's beds, appliances and family heirlooms.

The storm dropped more than nine inches of rain in parts of the region, Newsday previously reported

“It was a waterfall — four-and-a-half feet of water. I just hit the power off on the house and waited for it to stop,” said Linwood Avenue resident Rich Gosline, 67.

Now at least a handful of homeowners there, including Gosline, want to be reimbursed for tens of thousands of dollars in damages.

Newsday spoke to five families from Linwood Avenue who said they sent notices of claim to Nassau County, Farmingdale and the Town of Oyster Bay seeking to recover expenses from storm repairs. The homeowners have alleged in part the county was negligent in its maintenance of sewer basins that surround their homes. 

The residents said their home insurance policies either didn't cover all of their damages or didn't cover any at all. At least two of the homeowners on Linwood Avenue, which isn't close to a body of water, said they didn't have flood insurance policies.

The Nassau County Attorney's Office sent denials to at least four of the homeowners who filed notices of claim against Nassau, according to records homeowners provided to Newsday. 

“The purported claim damage resulted from a natural cause without human intervention, and one that could not have been prevented by reasonable foresight or care,” the denials said.

Susan Miles, one of the homeowners who filed a notice of claim, said seven other Linwood Avenue homeowners did the same. The claims are precursors to civil lawsuits against public agencies.

 Miles, 60, has lived on Linwood Avenue for four years. She said water rose quickly during the storm, then came in through windows in her basement before it took hours to recede.

“Water was up to my front door and up to my back door … There was no stopping it,” Miles said.

She had to replace furniture, appliances, walls and doors, according to her notice of claim.

The homeowner said she spent $12,000 to fix damage after her home insurance company rejected her claims. The company said her policy didn't cover damage from water that comes in from outside the house, according to Miles, who said she doesn't have separate flood insurance.

Carmine Aufiero, 65, who lives across the street and also filed one of the notices of claim, said he has spent $10,000 on repairs. 

In December, President Joe Biden declared the Sept. 29 storm a major disaster.

Nassau County asked for financial aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Public Assistance Program with a request through the state, said Colin Brennan, a spokesman for New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

Such a request, however, only allows FEMA to reimburse Nassau County for repair efforts, according to Brennan. He said a separate request for individual assistance the county didn't make is needed for homeowner reimbursement.

The state official said the federal government previously granted individual assistance to New York after the 2022 Buffalo blizzard, the 2021 storm remnants from Hurricane Ida and after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 — all of which caused fatalities.

Brennan said the county could amend its application to include an individual assistance request.

Chris Boyle, a spokesman for Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, didn't respond to a question about whether the county would consider such a request.

Boyle said before Biden’s major disaster declaration, a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration in November made low-interest, long-term loans available for homeowners to pay for September storm repairs.

Blakeman's spokesman added that Nassau County is responsible for about 550 storm sewer basins and the storm was a 100-year rain event that surpassed the capacity of the county's infrastructure. 

“There is no record of any concerns associated with the three stormwater basins nor any past issues reported by the community,” Boyle said of the trio of county basins that service Linwood Avenue.

Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said the village hired H2M architects + engineers in October to create a plan to mitigate stormwater flooding on Linwood Avenue, though it's still in a preliminary stage.

The mayor said in response to a question about the notices of claim against the village that he sympathizes “with the losses suffered by the Linwood Avenue families,” but didn't address if Farmingdale has any liability.

Ekstrand said the county has been doing sewer basin cleanup in the Linwood Avenue area and took “a minimum of four dump trucks full of muck out of there” in recent weeks. 

Town of Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin said the town has been “improperly named” in the homeowners' notices of claim and “has no jurisdiction” over the roadway or its drainage system.

Linwood Avenue resident Ryan Schneider, 43, said the basement bedroom of his two children, ages 11 and 7, was inundated with water during the storm.

 He said water began to come through the home's windows and before long it was “coming from everywhere.”  The damage forced his family to relocate for more than two months.

Schneider said he got one of the low-interest federal loans to make repairs and recovered $17,000 from a home insurance policy. But the storm did about $90,000 to his home, according to his notice of claim.

It faults the county and says damage was caused by “the storm drains not being properly maintained.”

Schneider said even routine storms lead to backups that can cause street flooding in minutes. So when it rains, anxiety starts to build on Linwood Avenue.

“If it happens again, it’s just going to be devastating,” Schneider said.

Linwood Avenue in Farmingdale looks like many residential neighborhoods on Long Island — except when it rains.

That's when residents start to look anxiously out their windows, waiting to see if the water will rise and invade their homes like on Sept. 29.

That day, their fears were realized when a flood engulfed the street and spilled into their homes, filling basements and destroying children's beds, appliances and family heirlooms.

The storm dropped more than nine inches of rain in parts of the region, Newsday previously reported

“It was a waterfall — four-and-a-half feet of water. I just hit the power off on the house and waited for it to stop,” said Linwood Avenue resident Rich Gosline, 67.

Now at least a handful of homeowners there, including Gosline, want to be reimbursed for tens of thousands of dollars in damages.

Newsday spoke to five families from Linwood Avenue who said they sent notices of claim to Nassau County, Farmingdale and the Town of Oyster Bay seeking to recover expenses from storm repairs. The homeowners have alleged in part the county was negligent in its maintenance of sewer basins that surround their homes. 

The residents said their home insurance policies either didn't cover all of their damages or didn't cover any at all. At least two of the homeowners on Linwood Avenue, which isn't close to a body of water, said they didn't have flood insurance policies.

The Nassau County Attorney's Office sent denials to at least four of the homeowners who filed notices of claim against Nassau, according to records homeowners provided to Newsday. 

“The purported claim damage resulted from a natural cause without human intervention, and one that could not have been prevented by reasonable foresight or care,” the denials said.

'No stopping it'

Susan Miles, one of the homeowners who filed a notice of claim, said seven other Linwood Avenue homeowners did the same. The claims are precursors to civil lawsuits against public agencies.

 Miles, 60, has lived on Linwood Avenue for four years. She said water rose quickly during the storm, then came in through windows in her basement before it took hours to recede.

“Water was up to my front door and up to my back door … There was no stopping it,” Miles said.

She had to replace furniture, appliances, walls and doors, according to her notice of claim.

The homeowner said she spent $12,000 to fix damage after her home insurance company rejected her claims. The company said her policy didn't cover damage from water that comes in from outside the house, according to Miles, who said she doesn't have separate flood insurance.

Carmine Aufiero, 65, who lives across the street and also filed one of the notices of claim, said he has spent $10,000 on repairs. 

Shown here is flooding damage the Farmingdale home of Ryan...

Shown here is flooding damage the Farmingdale home of Ryan Schneider's family sustained in a Sept. 29 storm. The Schneiders are among at least a handful of families on Linwood Avenue in Farmingdale that have filed notices of claim against public agencies, trying to recover money for home repairs they had to make while alleging negligent maintenance of sewer basins. Credit: Schneider Family

A major disaster

In December, President Joe Biden declared the Sept. 29 storm a major disaster.

Nassau County asked for financial aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Public Assistance Program with a request through the state, said Colin Brennan, a spokesman for New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

Such a request, however, only allows FEMA to reimburse Nassau County for repair efforts, according to Brennan. He said a separate request for individual assistance the county didn't make is needed for homeowner reimbursement.

The state official said the federal government previously granted individual assistance to New York after the 2022 Buffalo blizzard, the 2021 storm remnants from Hurricane Ida and after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 — all of which caused fatalities.

Brennan said the county could amend its application to include an individual assistance request.

Chris Boyle, a spokesman for Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, didn't respond to a question about whether the county would consider such a request.

Boyle said before Biden’s major disaster declaration, a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration in November made low-interest, long-term loans available for homeowners to pay for September storm repairs.

Blakeman's spokesman added that Nassau County is responsible for about 550 storm sewer basins and the storm was a 100-year rain event that surpassed the capacity of the county's infrastructure. 

“There is no record of any concerns associated with the three stormwater basins nor any past issues reported by the community,” Boyle said of the trio of county basins that service Linwood Avenue.

'Dump trucks full of muck'

Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said the village hired H2M architects + engineers in October to create a plan to mitigate stormwater flooding on Linwood Avenue, though it's still in a preliminary stage.

The mayor said in response to a question about the notices of claim against the village that he sympathizes “with the losses suffered by the Linwood Avenue families,” but didn't address if Farmingdale has any liability.

Ekstrand said the county has been doing sewer basin cleanup in the Linwood Avenue area and took “a minimum of four dump trucks full of muck out of there” in recent weeks. 

Town of Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin said the town has been “improperly named” in the homeowners' notices of claim and “has no jurisdiction” over the roadway or its drainage system.

Linwood Avenue resident Ryan Schneider, 43, said the basement bedroom of his two children, ages 11 and 7, was inundated with water during the storm.

 He said water began to come through the home's windows and before long it was “coming from everywhere.”  The damage forced his family to relocate for more than two months.

Schneider said he got one of the low-interest federal loans to make repairs and recovered $17,000 from a home insurance policy. But the storm did about $90,000 to his home, according to his notice of claim.

It faults the county and says damage was caused by “the storm drains not being properly maintained.”

Schneider said even routine storms lead to backups that can cause street flooding in minutes. So when it rains, anxiety starts to build on Linwood Avenue.

“If it happens again, it’s just going to be devastating,” Schneider said.

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