CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NEXT ROUND OF DEMOLITION OF 47 POST-SANDY BUYOUT HOMES IN SAYREVILLE
EFFORT SHOWS CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO GET AT-RISK RESIDENTS OUT OF HARM’S WAY
(14/P58) TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection has announced that 47 Superstorm Sandy-damaged homes in Sayreville will be torn down starting this week as part of the Christie Administration’s $300 million Sandy Blue Acres Buyout Program.
The first of three demolitions this morning began at a property at 15 Weber Avenue. Demolition of the remaining homes will follow along Weber Avenue and in on MacArthur Avenue in stages over the next several weeks. All of the work should be completed in July. A first round of demolitions of four Sayreville homes purchased through the Blue Acres Program occurred in March.
The DEP’s Blue Acres program purchases Sandy-damaged dwellings in flood-prone areas from willing sellers at pre-storm values, with the properties to be returned to open space.
“The buyouts program demonstrates the Christie Administration’s commitment to move families out of harm’s way of future storms and to give them a chance to restart their lives,’’ said Commissioner Martin. “These demolitions are part of the final step in the process, returning these properties to a natural state to serve as open space and buffers for future storms and flood events.”
So far, 193 property owners have accepted DEP buyout offers in Sayreville and South River, Middlesex County municipalities that sustained significant flooding when Sandy’s storm surge pushed from Raritan Bay and into the South River. The DEP has closed on 116 of those homes. Offers have also been accepted for 39 homes in Woodbridge. A total of more than 900 homes have been identified for acquisition so far statewide.
The DEP has created a special team in its Blue Acres Program to work closely with sellers and process their applications as quickly as possible. The team reaches out to individual homeowners personally and guides them through the acquisition process.
“The demolition of these houses is, of course, very emotional for their owners,” said Richard Boornazian, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “But it also marks progress in our continuing efforts to help these residents get a new start. We remain committed to assisting willing sellers as they go through the buyout process and helping them move on with their lives without having to worry about the next flood.”
The demolition contracts have been bid through the State Division of Property Management & Construction (DPMC).
The DEP is continuing to expand the Blue Acres Program in other Sandy flood-impacted communities. In addition to Sayreville and South River, the DEP has either secured funding or is targeting funding for potential buyouts in Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Newark and the Delaware Bay community of Lawrence Township.
The DEP also has engaged in dialogue with officials and residents in other Sandy impacted municipalities that are being considered for a next round of buyouts using a recently announced second round of federal Sandy buyout dollars, once that funding gets formal federal approval
This effort demonstrates significant progress toward the Administration’s goal of buying out 1,000 properties in tidal areas affected by Sandy and another 300 properties in other towns, such as Manville and communities in the Passaic River Basin, that have repeatedly flooded. The Blue Acres Superstorm Sandy Program was launched May 16, 2013.
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will provide 100 percent of the funding for buyouts in Sayreville and South River, plus Woodbridge. Additional federal funding to acquire other properties impacted by Superstorm Sandy is expected to be provided through the $1.46 billion second round of federal Community Disaster Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds allocated to New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Homeowners interested in selling their homes through this process may contact the DEP’s Blue Acres Program at (609) 984-0500.
For more information on the Blue Acres Program, visit: www.state.nj.us/dep/greenacres/blue_flood_ac.html
For information on Sandy Recovery, visit: www.state.nj.us/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/