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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2014

Contact:  Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
                 Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Bob Considine (609) 984-1795

CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES  SUPERSTORM SANDY BLUE
ACRES  BUYOUT MEETINGS SET FOR OLD BRIDGE AND LINDEN

BUYOUTS HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED SO FAR BY 317 HOMEOWNERS IN SIX TOWNS, WITH
162 CLOSINGS COMPLETED

(14/P104) TRENTON – The state’s Superstorm Sandy Blue Acres Buyout Program will hold informational meetings for some 70 homeowners interested in buyouts in Old Bridge and Linden in late September and early October, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

The private meetings for approved residents, at which they will be provided with details on the buyout program and be matched with case managers, are set for Sept. 30 in Old Bridge and Oct. 6 in Linden.

Old Bridge, in Middlesex County, and Linden, in Union County, are the latest Sandy-ravaged municipalities to benefit from the Christie Administration’s federally funded buyout effort, which is seeking to purchase as many as 1,300 homes in flood-damaged and flood-threatened areas, to get residents out of harm’s way and create natural buffers to protect against future storm events.

The Superstorm Sandy Blue Acres Buyout Program, which was launched in May, 2013, purchases homes from willing sellers at pre-Sandy market values and allows participants the opportunity to rebuild their lives after the devastation of the storm outside of flood-prone areas.

“The Blue Acres Buyout Program continues to work to fulfill the Governor’s pledge to help residents in flood-prone neighborhoods move out of harm’s way and start over without having to live in fear of future flooding,’’ said Commissioner Martin. “We are glad to expand the buyouts program to Old Bridge and Linden and offer these residents a chance to restart their lives, while making these communities more resilient to future storms.’’

So far, 317 property owners have accepted DEP buyout offers in six municipalities. DEP has closed on purchases of 162 homes, and 49 homes have been demolished.

Purchase offers to homeowners already have been made in Sayreville, South River, Woodbridge, Newark, East Brunswick, and the Delaware Bay community of Lawrence Township. The state also has submitted grant applications to the federal government to secure funding for buyouts in Manville and Pompton Lakes, which were flooded by Hurricane Irene and other storms prior to Sandy.

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

Old Bridge and Linden will be the first New Jersey towns where the Blue Acres home purchases will be funded through Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding provided to the state by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Most of the previous buyouts were funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture –Natural Resources Conservation Service and the state Green Acres Program.

The DEP has created a special team for its Blue Acres Buyout 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.

Homeowners interested in selling their homes or who have questions about the buyout program or the upcoming information meetings in Linden and Old Bridge 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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