OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – It’s been nearly seven years since Superstorm Sandy and thousands of Long Island homeowners are just finding out they may have to elevate their homes.
The new question is – why now?
Oceanside has moved on since Hurricane Sandy. Homes were rebuilt, some have been resold, but now a difficult case of déjà vu is arriving in residents’ mailboxes.
“I’m pretty upset about it,” Mike Cascio said.
Residents like Cascio have learned that damage inspections done by the town of Hempstead in the days following Sandy were never sent to homeowners.
They reportedly sat in drawers at the Hempstead town hall for years.
They’re now available through the buildings department and what’s in them could mean many homeowners may be forced to elevate their homes.
“We were like are you kidding me? Seriously?” one homeowner told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
“We were told ‘no, nothing you can do, go home and raise your house.’”
About 13,000 houses were inspected. If ruled “substantially damaged but are not lifted” flood insurances could spike, building permits may be withheld, and future home sales impacted.
“It means I’m kinda trapped in my house now. Could I sell it? Yea. Will someone buy it and pay full value? I’m sure not,” Cascio said.
Hempstead town supervisor Laura Gillan discovered the prior administration – understandably in the chaos of Sandy – waived permit requirements. That decision however, has left many now facing costly elevations.
“It’s so many years later, most of those relief programs have dried up. They are gone, you can’t access that money anymore so this is a problem. We didn’t want to hide the problem, sweep it under the rug, we wanted to address it head on,” Gillen explained.
She’s set up a process for homeowners to appeal their newly-discovered designations.
“I gotta raise it six to eight feet. That’s gonna cost $200,000. I don’t have $200,000,” frustrated Oceanside homeowner Henry Reuhl told CBS2.
“We spent all our insurance money. We put all this effort into putting a house back together and now we’re going to have to rip it up again? That’s worse than the storm itself,” Cascio explained.
Supervisor Gillen is asking for state and federal help to find a pool of funds to help these homeowners do this flood mitigation work so many years after the fact.
Impacted homeowners have been directed to call or visit the Hempstead town hall, where they will be informed of their home’s designation and advised on what it means moving forward.