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LI officials ask for more time on home elevations

Residents seek to extend a June 30 deadline

Residents seek to extend a June 30 deadline to get money for lifting houses on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Hempstead. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Long Island officials are asking Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state storm-recovery agencies to extend the deadline for residents affected by superstorm Sandy to submit applications to raise their homes or risk losing reimbursement money.

NY Rising and the Governor’s Office on Storm Recovery extended the deadline last week for residents to raise their homes in the optional elevation program until June 1, 2018, but local officials are asking for more time for residents to submit building permit applications, which are due next week.

Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and Nassau County Legis. Steve Rhoads (R-North Bellmore) on Wednesday said residents were only informed of the imminent deadline in a June 12 letter — giving them 18 days to show documentation.

“Our South Shore residents were victimized by floodwaters. Now looming deadlines threaten to victimize our residents once again in a flood of bureaucracy,” D’Esposito said.

State officials had extended the deadline by which residents must lift their homes following a letter by Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), Sen. John Brooks (D-Seaford) and Assemb. Melissa Miller (R-Atlantic Beach), who argued that residents couldn’t reasonably raise their homes by the original deadline of Sept. 1.

The state recovery agency had agreed to extend that deadline another nine months if residents submit one of three pieces of documentation by June 30: A permit from a building department to commence elevation, a receipt for an application for an elevation permit, or the latest correspondence from a building department showing the submission of an elevation permit application.

Residents of the 2,200 homes enrolled for optional elevation who do not submit documentation by that date can lose their project reimbursement funds, state officials said. The deadline only applies to optional elevation of homes, not elevation that is required by where homes are located in the floodplain.

State officials did not indicate on Wednesday that the filing deadline could be extended, citing the minimum documentation required to show building progress.

“We also understand that some homeowners have had issues with local building departments issuing permits, which is why we have offered resources to some of the most impacted buildings departments to expedite the permitting process. Additionally, we have extended the September 2017 interim inspection deadline to June 2018,” the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery wrote in a statement.

Hempstead officials said they are just now working with the state office to assist in the permit process and coordinate with architects and building officials.

Liz Treston, who is raising her Long Beach home after it was damaged during Sandy in 2012, said it takes about a year to work with contractors and architects to finish a project.

“I’m still in Year One with everyone else. The rest of the world has moved on, but we’re still stuck in November 2012,” Treston said.

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