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Local News

Westchester finalizing hazard plan that would save residents on flood insurance

WESTCHESTER – Westchester is in the process of finalizing a multi-hazard mitigation plan with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that would allow residents to save 10 percent on flood insurance.

Walter Novak, a former village trustee who retired in May, has been working on the plan since 2011; a year after more than 3,500 homes in the village flooded during a storm that produced 7 inches of rain in 10 hours.

The village was hit hard again this year during April’s heavy storms. Village President Sam Pulia then met with FEMA officials in Springfield to seek funding for Westchester’s recurrent flooding issues.

FEMA has unofficially approved the mitigation plan, and the village expects to get a letter completing the process soon, Novak said.

Having the plan would make the village eligible for additional FEMA funding and give it a rating in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System, saving residents 10 percent on flood insurance that can range from $200 to $2,000, depending on the amount of coverage and risk associated with certain areas.

Currently, the village has no rating because neither the village nor Cook County has a mitigation plan. All DuPage County municipalities have a rating because the county has an overarching plan.

"It is a lengthy process,” Novak said. “It's not an easy process."

Novak said it would have cost $40,000 to $80,000 to hire someone to develop the plan, which is why he took it on himself. Most of the work has been done online and will only cost the village $200, he said.

As part of the roughly 100-page plan, the village intends to expand its reservoir and maintain storm sewer lines.

"Anything that helps move water away from the residents,” Novak said.

Only four or five districts in Cook County, including Chicago, have a mitigation plan, Novak said.

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