Sagaponack Holds Off on FEMA


Just last week, it seemed the Sagaponack Village Board of Trustees was ready to adopt the new FEMA regulations, regarding the limit moderate wave action (LIMWA) line designation on the revised FEMA maps. But after reviewing draft legislation prepared by Village Attorney Anthony Tohill, mayor Don Louchheim announced at the trustee’s monthly meeting on Monday that he needed more information.

“I can’t make heads or tails of this,” reported Louchheim to his fellow board members. “I had the impression that there were going to be minor amendments to the law we passed in 2007. This is significantly different.”

In 2007, the village approved a flood prevention code, said village clerk Rhodi Winchell. She added that a code was modeled after a law presented to the village by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. By passing the flood prevention code, continued Winchell, the village became a part of the FEMA program and eligible for the flood insurance program for the municipality.

At the village work session held last Monday, Louchheim relayed a conversation he had with Tohill, in which Tohill reported that the new regulations wouldn’t necessarily alter the appearance of homes in the village. Louchheim added that he couldn’t ascertain if there was a difference in substance and content between the two legal documents or if it was a difference in technical language and structure.

“The structure is different [between the two documents.] The order of things has changed, and you can’t read one against the other because it is hard to compare the two,” continued Louchheim. “For the layman, it is hard to understand.”

Louchheim requested that Tohill write-up a memorandum detailing the differences between the 2007 village flood laws and the draft legislation for the new LIMWA regulations, before the village approves the draft for New York State Department of Environmental Conservation review.

As relayed to the board by Louchheim last week, Tohill said if the village chooses not to enact the new regulations they will most likely not be entitled to federal flood insurance for the entire municipality, which could adversely affect residents. Louchheim noted at the meeting last week that it is extremely difficult for prospective homeowners to obtain a mortgage without the availability of flood insurance.

Draft legislation pertaining to the new FEMA regulations must be sent to the DEC by June 25.

Although stalled on the issue of the new FEMA regulations, the board granted Ocean Zendo’s request to park on Bridge Lane, a street notorious for parking issues, in the summer months. The Buddhist congregation asked for parking passes which would let them station their cars in front of the Peter Matthiessen property, where the Zendo is located. Sarah Jaffe Turnball, a member of the group, reported to the board that it was often difficult for elderly members to navigate the unfinished and overgrown road leading up to the meeting house. Currently, parking is restricted during the day on this road, but the board will make an exception to accommodate the Zendo. They will issue roughly 10 special parking permits for the principal members of the group.