The township announced this week that a number of homes around the township have been approved for demolition by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after being declared “structurally unsound, unsafe, and an immediate threat to public health,” according to officials.
The demolitions come as the so-called “involuntary PPDR” program begins in Toms River.
PPDR refers to Private Property Debris Removal, a federal program where municipal governments can receive federal dollars to lead demolition projects in disaster areas. The voluntary PPDR program has been completed – and resident who qualified could have had their home torn down – and now those whose properties have been considered abandoned will see their homes knocked down as part of the involuntary program.
Officials said the involuntary demolitions do not occur without every attempt being made to contact the property owner.
“We are not going to expend funds to demolish homes without contacting those people,” said Council President Maria Maruca. “We have had a very good response, we were expecting much worse.”
Officials say homes left abandoned well over a year after
the storm could pose a safety hazard, and become a nuisance in storm-stricken
neighborhoods where others are trying to rebuild.
Homeowners who have not made an effort to tear down their unsalvageable houses will be issued a letter from township officials advising them that their property must be demolished. If they refuse to comply or ignore the letter, Township Administrator Paul Shives said, they will be issued a summons and a hearing will be scheduled in municipal court, at which point it will be decided if the township should move forward with demolition.
Shives said the township will attempt to recoup the cost of demolition with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but any costs to the township will be passed on to property owners in the forms of a lien.
At one point, officials estimated that as many as 200 homes could face demolition, but the actual number is “a lot less,” Maruca said.
For those storm victims who are still waiting on federal funds to rebuild or are in the process of restoring their properties, the township has pledged to cooperate and hold off on any plans for demolition, Maruca said.
Homes recently slated for demolition include:
- 34 North Beach Drive
- 311 Eight Avenue
- 431 Sixth Terrace
- 84 Tennyson Avenue
- 311 Second Avenue
- 229 Joseph Street