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Flood Waters Receding, But N.J. Residents Still Furious

Homeowners Demand Action To Combat Flooding At Meeting With Officials, Flood Board Members
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New Jersey Flooding (credit: CBS 2)

New Jersey Flooding (credit: CBS 2)

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LITTLE FALLS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – As flood-prone areas of New Jersey began drying out Tuesday, angry residents of flooded areas called again on New Jersey’s leaders to do more to keep their roads and homes dry.

Flooded-out homeowners packed a town meeting with local leaders and flood board members Tuesday night, after yet another rainstorm left their streets, backyards and basements underwater from the swelling Passaic River, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

“This flood made it to the CNN – not even anybody in Chile would want to buy a house in Little Falls – so can you imagine?” resident Yvette Reyes said.

Reyes was speaking out as one of the lucky ones. Her home on Louis Street is on the list of homes that will be raised, part of a limited flooding relief program between the state and federal government.

With the flooding year after year, though, Reyes said the damage is in her plummeting property value.

“Taxes are going up, and every time the insurance pays a claim, our insurance goes up – and it’s not going up by $50, $60, it’s going up by $100, $200, $300,” Reyes said.

Little Falls residents were joined by those from nearby Wayne and Fairview, which have also suffered from major flooding this year. Many blame the Pompton Dam, its gates opening and closing with the rain – to the detriment, some say, of areas downstream.

“The floods are coming too often, and they’re frustrated, they’re angry,” Little Falls Flood Board member Dorothy O’Haire said.

O’Haire said the recent addition of floodgates upstream, combined with a plan to dredge the river there to prevent flooding in those areas, has made the situation in Little Falls much worse.

“Common sense will tell you that’s going to bring more water down here,” she said.

Board members presented several options to residents Tuesday night – among them, getting rid of a rock gorge upstream and building new floodgates at Beattie’s Dam.

“We just want to tell everybody that there is hope,” O’Haire said. “I mean, we are trying.”

The mayor of Little Falls announced a study by the Department of Environmental Protection.

“To make sure that an independent company comes in and takes a look at exactly how those gates are being opened,” Mayor Mike DeFrancisci said.

In the meantime, residents are demanding short- and long-term relief – buyouts of their homes, a new floodwall, dredging – anything to stem the tide.

“Stop the building and check everybody to make sure nobody builds in any of the floodplain areas,” homeowner Paul Scollo said.

Are New Jersey’s leaders doing enough to stop the flooding? Leave a comment below…

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