Boonton Residents Living On The Edge Look To Jersey City, FEMA For Help
BOONTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some New Jersey residents in Boonton are living on the edge and at risk of their houses falling into the Rockaway River.
No one, however, is fixing the problem and that’s because the slope that’s eroding under the homes is owned by someone else — Jersey City.
The bank in Boonton collapsed during Hurricane Irene last year. A chunk of the slope was ravaged by the Rockaway River and almost a year later, several homes are teetering on the edge in addition to being deemed unsafe by engineers.
“We do worry about falling into the river,” Cindy Losardo told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
James Riter owns one of the homes on the edge. The town of Boonton forced him to evacuate tenants and now he’s stuck with the mortgage.
“The slope was found to be deteriorating and moving closer to our property,” Riter said.
What now is a 50-foot drop used to be a gentle path where people could walk down to the river.
“We’ve gone through all avenues to get this resolved,” State Sen. Anthony Bucco said.
Bucco owns the other evacuated home. He and other residents wanted the slope shored up.
The problem is Jersey City — not Boonton — owns the property as part of a reservoir.
The attorney representing Jersey City, Bill Matsikoudis, said he is working with FEMA to get help, but that they’re not about to spend money on repairs.
“The result that’s there right now is the consequence of an unprecedented natural catastrophe, and it’s not the responsibility of the Jersey City taxpayer to fund this multimillion dollar repair,” he said.
But Boonton residents disagree, saying somebody needs to be held responsible.
For now, the homeowners said they are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping the next rainfall won’t wash the bank away. Insurance companies said they would only cover the cost if the houses fall into the river.
Boonton’s mayor said it’s out of his hands because only Jersey City, as the property owner, can apply for federal help.
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