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Sandy Buyout Program Draws Little Interest From Shore

More than $26 million in additional buyouts announced for Middlesex County

A Blue Acres site along Route 35 in Brick Township, south of the Curtis Point neighborhood
A Blue Acres site along Route 35 in Brick Township, south of the Curtis Point neighborhood
State officials this week announced $26.3 million in buyouts of Sandy-damaged homes in flood prone areas, though officials say there is still little to no interest in such buyouts in the Shore area.

The state Department of Environmental Protection announced the buyouts of 89 properties on Thursday in flood-prone sections of Woodbridge, the latest of over 361 homes that have been purchased in Sayreville, South River and Woodbridge that have cost over $100 million. There have also been buyouts in Cumberland County.

But the area of the state most affected by Sandy has generated little interest in the program, known as Blue Acres.

"We have definitely met with many Ocean County towns, but to date there hasn’t been much interest in the Blue Acres buyout program throughout the county," said Bob Considine, a DEP spokesman. "Certainly if these municipalities come back to us with areas where there are groups or clusters of residents who are interested in these voluntary buyouts, we would be receptive to working with them."

The reasoning is simple, officials have said: properties near the water at the Shore are often valued higher than those inland along the Raritan or Delaware rivers, and local residents are confident the post-Sandy real estate market will be reinvigorated down the road.

Thus far, despite a scattered number of individual applications for buyouts in the Shore area, there has been no interest on neighborhood-wide scales except for small sections of Neptune and Union Beach, in Monmouth County.

The administration of Gov. Chris Christie has committed more than $300 million of federal funding to the buyout program that is targeting 1,000 properties in tidal areas affected by Sandy, and another 300 properties in the Passaic River Basin that have repeatedly flooded.

The Blue Acres program also is working on potential buyouts in East Brunswick, Linden, Manville, Old Bridge, Neptune, Newark, Union Beach, and another section of Woodbridge, and has engaged in dialogue with residents and officials in many other communities, state officials said in a statement this week.

"We continue to make excellent progress toward our goal of moving willing sellers in flood-prone areas out of harm's way," said Christie, in a statement. "In cooperation with the federal government, my Administration is working hard to expedite this process and to help these victims of the storm get on with their lives.''

Administrators of the Blue Acres program have previously said that buyouts of homes must be done on a neighborhood-wide basis – not scattered throughout neighborhoods – since the lack of a structure in an area can actually increase the flood hazard risk for surrounding properties.

Homeowners interested in selling their homes through this process can contact the DEP's Blue Acres Program at 609-984-0500, the DEP said.
Oceancity Resident February 07, 2014 at 08:35 PM
Only a short sighted fool would take a government buyout on a piece of coastal property.
Chris Cline February 07, 2014 at 09:04 PM
I would like to know what percentage of the home's market value the government is paying for these homes. And is this value appraised based on the current condition or off of neighborhood market comparables? Private real estate investors should be able to purchase these homes instead because they know how to properly restore a home and create value to the neighborhood the home is in. Governmental agencies are not the answer for developing. Private builders and investors should have the opportunity to "buyout" motivated sellers, not the government!
charlotte February 08, 2014 at 08:44 AM
Seaside Heights uses property that was bought using Green Acres as a leased out "pay to park" lot. Where is the investigation on that one?
Mark February 08, 2014 at 10:13 PM
RE:Seaside Heights uses property that was bought using Green Acres as a leased out "pay to park" lot. Where is the investigation on that one? Is that the property behind the CVS? If so that land is actually in Toms River Township and there's panic over inquiries being made. That's why they put up some bs swings & slides to make it look good,
charlotte February 08, 2014 at 11:57 PM
@Mark my information is the property is in Seaside Heights and yes it is the property behind the CVS. It was formally owned by the Heiring family and sold to the town using Green Acres. Seaside Hts leases it (by open bid?) for about $20K a year and it is used as a "pay to park" lot.
suz February 09, 2014 at 08:15 AM
Oh Charlotte, that is just wrong. How did they get away with utilizing it for parking vs green space. Never knew that...
Sean Conneamhe February 09, 2014 at 08:56 AM
"Impeach Christie for not prosecuting the wide-spread corruption in Seaside..."
charlotte February 09, 2014 at 10:23 AM
SCI Report - D1997 It is a large document - good read. Start on page 27 "Fraudulent Disaster/ Damage Claims" then page 37 "Environmental Degradation". That might grab your interest to read the entire document. http://www.state.nj.us/sci/pdf/seaside.pdf
Av February 09, 2014 at 12:02 PM
We need new coolers at riggers when I gonna get me check?

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