CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES HOMES COMING DOWN IN SOUTH
RIVER AS PART OF SANDY BLUE ACRES ACQUISITION PROGRAM
(14/P74) TRENTON – Demolition of homes in South River purchased by the state through the Superstorm Sandy Blue Acres Acquisition Program have begun this week, with a dozen houses in South River and Sayreville slated to come down over the next several weeks, Commissioner Bob Martin said today.
Blue Acres is buying out more than 1,000 storm-damaged homes throughout the state as part of a $300 million federally-funded program that is moving flood-prone homeowners out of harm’s way. The properties will be converted to open space that will provide buffers against future storms and flooding.
“A homeowner’s decision to sell their home and move is not an easy one, and our teams at DEP have been working closely with these property owners who have decided that relocating makes the best sense for their families,” Commissioner Martin said. “We are working to make the transition as easy as possible, understanding that many memories are part of these homes that are coming down.”
A total of 132 homes in Sayreville and South River, adjoining Middlesex County municipalities hit hard by Sandy’s storm surge, have been purchased thus far. A total of 254 homeowners in five communities have accepted offers from the state to buy their homes, with more than 900 homes currently approved for Blue Acres’ Program purchases.
The program only buys properties from willing sellers and focuses its efforts on larger, contiguous parcels that can provide greater flooding buffers and reduce the need for emergency crews to risk their lives in the event of rescues.
So far, 16 purchased homes have been demolished in Sayreville. There have been 38 properties purchased in South River as part of the program. The first South River demolition this week was at 33 Freeman Street, the former home of Joseph Piluso. The sale of that home closed February 14 of this year, and sold for $170,406. All homes in the Blue Acres program are bought at pre-Sandy market values.
"We are happy that demolitions in South River have begun,” said South River Mayor John Krenzel. “It is another step in our recovery from Sandy. We are optimistic about the future and that the area will be reclaimed by nature and used as a nature preserve."
The demolition contracts have been bid through the State Division of Property Management & Construction (DPMC).
DEP is making purchases of homes through the Blue Acres program in other Sandy flood-impacted communities. In addition to Sayreville and South River, the DEP has secured funding or is targeting funding for potential buyouts in Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Newark and the Delaware Bay community of Lawrence Township.
This effort demonstrates significant progress toward the Administration’s goal of buying at least 1,000 homes 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/