Branford will be the site of the first of a series of public hearings hosted by the Shoreline Preservation Task Force, a legislative group set up to study the effects of storms, floods and rising sea levels on the Connecticut shoreline.
The first hearing will be Monday, July 9, at 6:00 p.m. at Blackstone Memorial Library. State Rep. Lonnie Reed (D-Branford), a member of the task force, will be on hand. Residents will be encouraged to address lawmakers directly with concerns and issues stemming from Hurricane Irene and associated shoreline problems.
"There are people still suffering from Hurricane Irene, and many people don't know about it," Reed said. "We're looking to hear people tell their personal stories -- what happened to them, what surprised them."
Reed said two main concerns for the task force, which has been meeting since February, are improving environmental priorities and reforming insurance for affected residents.
"We want insurance to be a lot more transparent," she said. "People have paid out of pocket to have repairs done, and they haven't recieved their insurance payments or didn't have insurance available. Now they're in the hole."
Another concern is speeding up necessary permits for rebuilding. Some Branford residents have reported delays in getting approval from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP.)
"These are people's lives and their investments," Reed said. "We want them to tell us how they're feeling and what really happened to them. We look around now and see a lot of the damage, but I know people are still waiting for that insurance check, still being challenged, still not being allowed to rebuild."
Following the hearings, legislators say the task force will make recommendations for next year's legislative session.
Did you run into roadblocks while dealing with Hurricane Irene repairs or other storm damage? Let us know in the comments.