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Appraisals Completed For 96 Woodbridge, East Brunswick Post-Sandy Buyouts

The state is closing in on the first buyouts of Superstorm Sandy-damaged homes in Woodbridge and East Brunswick, in Middlesex County, with appraisals completed and offers beginning to be made on 89 homes in Woodbridge and a 7-home neighborhood in East Brunswick.

So far, 186 property owners have accepted DEP buyout offers and 73 closings have occurred in two other Middlesex County municipalities, Sayreville and South River, which sustained major flooding from Sandy's storm surge, according to the Christie administration.

The Blue Acres program also is working actively on potential buyouts in Atlantic Highlands, Linden, Old Bridge, Newark, Lawrence Township in Cumberland County, plus other sections of Sayreville, South River and Woodbridge, and has engaged in dialogue with residents and officials in many other communities. In total, 695 properties so far have been identified for potential buyouts statewide.

"We continue to work hard to get willing-seller families, whose lives were battered by Superstorm Sandy,  out of harm's way from future floods, and to give them an opportunity to re-start their lives,'' said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. "We remain committed to helping these people get through the buyout process and to move on as quickly as possible.''

The Christie Administration has committed more than $300 million in federal Sandy Recovery funding to the buyout program, targeting 1,000 properties in tidal areas affected by Sandy and another 300 properties in the Passaic River Basin and other areas subject to repetitive flooding.

These houses and properties will be purchased at pre-Sandy market values through the Blue Acres Program. The program is intended to move people, whose homes have been severely or repetitively damaged by storms and flooding, out of harm's way.

Once acquisitions are completed, the homes will be razed and the land will be permanently maintained by the municipalities as open space that can absorb flood waters during future storms. Buyouts also may enable local governments to create or expand active or passive public recreation areas.

The DEP has created a special team in its Blue Acres Program to work closely with sellers and process their applications as quickly as possible. The team is reaching out to individual homeowners personally and guiding them through the process.

Launched in 1995 the initial Blue Acres Program targeted purchases of lands in floodways in the Delaware, Passaic and Raritan river basins, but was later expanded to include all state waters. Eligible properties are those that have been storm damaged, that are prone to incurring storm damage, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage.

Homeowners interested in selling their homes through this process may contact the DEP's Blue Acres Program at 609-984-0500.

For more information on the Blue Acres Program, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/greenacres/blue_flood_ac.html

For information on Sandy Recovery, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/

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