But Board Gets Flooded With Storm Drain Complaints
If Hurricane Earl had stayed the course and stormed into our region, Floral Park would have been ready. At the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 7, Mayor Kevin J. Greene applauded Floral Park’s Department of Public Works. “I do want to recognize the Public Works staff for their efforts in preparation for Hurricane Earl, that thankfully did not come our way,” he said. “A lot of work went into it. Every day the staff was on a statewide conference call keeping track of Earl so that we knew when it was coming.” Mayor Greene heralded Trustee James E. Rhatigan, who heads up the village’s Emergency Task Force, adding that the village “has definitely picked up in the way of emergency management.”
Despite having dodged the recent hurricane, Floral Park is still plagued by recurring flood damage due to inadequate drainage systems. Residents whose homes were flooded as a result of heavy rain on Aug. 22 spoke out at the meeting. Marina Trentacoste of Cedar Place, who has been battling floods for nearly three decades at her current residence and whose basement was a total loss in a 2000 storm, questioned the board on its interaction with Nassau County officials with regard to drainage issues.
“When you asked us to leave the delicate negotiations between the village and the county to our elected officials and not get involved, we respectfully backed off. In July, when you invited us to exercise our political activism with the county, we did. … Has there been any communication between the village and the county” regarding a report prepared by Dvirka and Bartilucci Consulting Engineers?
Trentacoste was referring to a public meeting on May 21, 2008, at which the contents of an engineer’s report prepared by Dvirka and Bartilucci (D&B) “were discussed at some length.” She added that the same report was discussed at subsequent board of trustees meetings as well as Civic Association meetings. She asked, “Are contents of that report now considered privileged?”
Mayor Greene explained that the village is ensnarled in a legal quagmire that prohibits officials from publicly sharing certain information. “We are currently involved in a lawsuit with regard to the drainage issue in the village. And as a result, we are not allowed to discuss specific concerns with regard to drainage issues,” he said. He did emphasize, however, that he understands the frustration of residents and assured those present at the meeting that the board has had conversations with county officials.
The mayor said, “The area near Hickory [Street] was designed many years ago on 18-inch pipe that takes all of the water down by Cedar and Hickory where all of the water drains, and it brings it up into a 42-inch pipe” near Plainfield Avenue. “In order for us to put a bigger pipe in there, we have to get the county’s permission … We are not getting that rush to get our problem taken care of because in order for us to get our problems taken care of, [Nassau County] has to fix problems within its own system.”
Another resident, who requested anonymity, spoke about major flooding that occurs at the intersection of Primrose and Crocus avenues, citing that the “storm sewers are totally inadequate.”
Mayor Greene explained that the drainage system was designed in the 1960s, when people didn’t pour concrete over driveways and lay pavers across backyards, putting less stress on the system. He said, “There was a lot of green space” to absorb rainwater. “We have been working with D&B since 2007 to come up with ways to fix this. We continue to discuss ways to fix this. We are currently looking at other options — options that are not going to eliminate the problem but may reduce some of the concerns you have.”