CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION MAKES 272 POST-SANDY HOME BUYOUTS
OFFERS IN SAYREVILLE AND SOUTH RIVER
125 OFFERS ALREADY ACCEPTED AND 22 CLOSINGS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED
(14/P2) TRENTON – The Christie Administration today announced that the state’s post-Superstorm Sandy residential property buyout program has made substantial progress, with 272 buyout offers made in Sayreville and South River in Middlesex County, and closings finalized on 22 Sayreville homes, in an effort to move families out of harm’s way and create natural buffers for potential future storm and flooding events.
Of the 272 buyout offers made, 125 have been accepted in both towns.
The 22 Sayreville homes, which were sold to the state by willing sellers at pre-flood market values, are located on Weber Avenue and MacArthur Avenue, areas that were severely flooded during Sandy. The buyouts, ranging in purchase price from $105,000 to $315,000, were financed by federal and state dollars.
These buyouts are part of the Administration’s overall plan to acquire some 1,000 homes in areas significantly impacted by Sandy, along with another 300 repetitively flood-damaged homes in the Passaic River Basin and other locations, at a total estimated cost of $300 million. The goal is to acquire clusters of homes for buyouts.
In addition to providing fair market, pre-Sandy payouts to residents, the acquisition and demolition of these structures will eliminate the need for future disaster assistance because the land where these neighborhoods once stood will be maintained in perpetuity as open space, creating buffer areas for future flood waters.
“Many people in these Sandy affected neighborhoods told us they’ve had enough of dealing with flooding that has shattered their lives, and that they just want an opportunity to start again,’’ said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. “We are committed to helping these people get through buyout process and helping them move on with their lives as quickly as possible.’’
In addition to Sayreville and South River, which were the initial targets of the state’s buyout effort, the Blue Acres Program has expanded to Woodbridge, East Brunswick, and Newark, where 119 homes in tidal areas are targeted for the next round of purchases. In addition, the state is partnering with the federal government on 33 home buyouts in Lawrence Township in Cumberland County.
Meanwhile, local officials and residents in Linden (Union County), Old Bridge (Middlesex County), Atlantic Highlands, Neptune, and Union Beach (Monmouth County), among others, also have expressed an interest in buyouts.
Launched in April, the state’s $300 million buyout program is purchasing damaged homes at pre-Sandy market values to provide residents with the financial resources needed to relocate to residences in less flood-prone areas. So far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided some $55 million toward the purchase of 129 homes in Sayreville 77 in South River. Federal aid for the first round of 89 Woodbridge homes is anticipated for approval early this year.
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 buyout program is a joint effort of the DEP, the State Office of Emergency Management (OEM), and FEMA. DEP administers all of the acquisitions, while OEM handles the financing through FEMA.
Established in the 1990s, the Blue Acres Program initially aimed to purchase lands in the floodways of the Delaware, Passaic, and Raritan rivers basins. That effort was later expanded to include damaged and flood-prone properties in the floodway of any state river or tributary.
Homeowners interested in selling their homes through the buyout process may contact DEP’s Blue Acres Program at 609-984-0500.
For more information on the Blue Acres Program, visit:
For information on Sandy Recovery, visit: