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Briarcliff Woods Residents Plagued By Flooding

OSSINING, N.Y. – When a heavy storm hit in late June, flooding in Brian Streb's condominium in Briarcliff Woods caused his son and girlfriend and their one-week-old baby to move upstairs for a month while Streb's daughter slept on a couch.

"The ground level units in buildings three and four were completely flooded with mud and water and all the carpets in our unit had to be ripped up and fans and heaters brought in to dry the walls," said Streb, who is the president of the Briarcliff Woods Condominium Association.

Flooding has been an increasing worry and reality for a number of residents living in Briarcliff Woods, a condo complex on Ogden Road in Ossining. Rows of white sand bags on clear plastic tarp have been placed in front of units three, four, five and ten as a band-aid solution to help stop rain water from entering into units.

"They call it the Hundred Year Storm," said Dan DiPaula who has been the superintendent at Briarcliff Woods for 34 years. "After the first storm this year, I lost my boiler room. The water was eight feet high, into the light bulbs."

Water from a mile and a half stretch of Cedar Lane that has only one storm drain comes pouring down the hill onto Briarcliff Woods property during big storms, DiPaula explained. Runoff from the one storm drain passes through the back yard of 167 Cedar Lane, a property that belongs to Michael Holder. It has caused about eight feet of Holder's property to be eroded away, Streb said.

Residents of Briarcliff Woods brought the flooding to the attention of the Ossining town board two years ago. No action was taken then, but now after two large floods this year, with the second flood wrecking repairs done after the first flood, the town has decided to take action.

The town is working with Jim Vanoli, the engineering consultant for the town, to do a study on how to alleviate flooding by putting in more drainage from Cedar Lane, the street up the hill from Briarcliff Woods.

"Because we think residents need a fast solution, we want to take the lead on getting engineering done," said town Supervisor Catherine Borgia before a work session last Tuesday night to discuss the engineering study.

The study will probably cost around $60,000, while the actual work will cost several hundred thousand dollars, Borgia said.

"The town does seem to be taking some decisive action, but my main concern is that a project of this magnitude is going to take at least two years," Streb said.

In the meantime, Briarcliff Woods has hired its own engineer to look at what the condominium complex can do within its property to help stop flooding. Six families had to move out of their homes or make other accommodations due to flooding this year, Streb said.

"We have about $250,000 in damages right now, not including internal renovations people had to do to their units," Streb said. "It's really taking its toll psychologically on a lot of people."

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