SAYREVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Gov. Chris Christie has announced plans to use $300 million in federal funding to buy out homeowners whose properties have flooded repeatedly, especially during superstorm Sandy.
The governor announced the “willing seller” buyout plan Thursday, just before appearing in Sayreville, where about 270 homes were destroyed or severely damaged by a tidal surge during Sandy.
Some of those homeowners have expressed a willingness to sell.
The buyout program will begin in July with about 300 eligible properties in Sayreville and neighboring South River. Eventually, 1,000 homes will be bought.
“Property appraisals and title work are going to begin in June,” said the governor at the town hall meeting in Sayreville. “We’re putting a pretty quick timeline on this and very quick for government.”
“And you get the fair value for house so you can go and move and buy something else and go someplace else. That’s what we want to have happen for you,” said Christie.
The state will raze homes that are bought and preserve the land as wetlands.
“This buyout program will give homeowners added flexibility and another option as they rebuild from Sandy,” said Gov. Christie is a statement. “The process is a way to help people and property get out of harm’s way, but as I have always said, we will not force any of these residents to sell their homes or force any towns to participate in buyouts. This is a willing seller program for beleaguered neighborhoods and communities in flood-prone areas that have suffered the wrath of Sandy, and who believe that buyouts are the best option for their future.’”
Sayreville is one of the communities frequently mentioned as a good candidate for the buyouts.
Some homes in Sayreville remain uninhabitable due to the flooding from Sandy, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
Homes near the Passaic River will also be up for buyouts, Haskell reported.
The governor has repeatedly criticized shorefront homeowners elsewhere in the state who’ve voiced opposition to a dune system to prevent future flooding.
Local officials have said they are trying to avoid paying the resistant homeowners to have them sign on to the dune system plan.
The government plans to spend $3 billion to rebuild the beaches along the Jersey Shore.
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