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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2014

Contact:  Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Joe Seldner (609) 984-1795

 
 

CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION MARKS 100th DEMOLITION IN SANDY RESIDENTIAL BUYOUT PROGRAM
SOUTH RIVER DEMOLITION MARKS ANOTHER MILESTONE IN HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION EFFORT

(14/P124) TRENTON –The Christie Administration today announced the completion of the 100th demolition in the post-Sandy Blue Acres residential property buyout program, marking another milestone in the highly successful effort that is moving homeowners out of harm’s way of future flooding.

The latest home demolition occurred Tuesday at 16 Water Street in South River, Middlesex County.

“The Christie Administration remains committed to moving willing sellers out of flood-prone neighborhoods, an effort that is also creating permanent open space that will provide buffers to protect communities,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. “We are making significant progress toward our goal of moving many of our state’s most at-risk people to safer areas, away from the constant fear of flooding.”

So far, the Blue Acres Program has identified more than 900 properties for potential buyouts in 11 municipalities, with offers made to 502 homeowners, 342 accepting buyouts and 219 closings completed. To date, all of the demolitions have occurred in Sayreville, where 76 homes have come down, and South River, where 24 homes have been demolished.

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the Blue Acres Program has purchased homes in Sayreville, South River, Woodbridge and East Brunswick. The program is now moving towards the first home purchases in Newark, Lawrence, Manville, Pompton Lakes, Linden and Old Bridge.

The DEP also is working with officials and residents in other municipalities that are being considered for future rounds of buyouts.

“In South River, we’ve been pleased with the Blue Acres Program,” said Mayor John Krenzel. “In the part of town where homes have been sold to the program, we won’t have to worry about getting people out of the way of flooding in the future.”
 
Launched by the Christie Administration in spring 2013, the Sandy Blue Acres Program will purchase some 1,300 damaged homes at pre-Sandy market values, providing residents with financial resources needed to relocate. The federal government is providing the bulk of the estimated $300 million cost of the program through Sandy recovery funds.

So far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has approved $158 million, which has been processed through the state Office of Emergency Management, toward the purchase of homes.

An additional $100 million in federal funding to purchase other properties impacted by Superstorm Sandy will be provided through the $1.46 billion second round of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds allocated to New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

State Blue Acres dollars and federal Natural Resource Conservation Service funding also will be used to buy homes in Newark, East Brunswick and Lawrence Township.

The DEP has created a special post-Sandy Blue Acres team to work closely with willing sellers and process their buyout applications as quickly as possible. Case managers are working with individual homeowners personally to help guide them through the process.

The initial Blue Acres Program began in 1995, targeting purchases of lands in floodways in the Delaware, Passaic and Raritan river basins.

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: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/greenacres/blue_flood_ac.html

For information on Sandy Recovery, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/

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Last Updated: November 20, 2014