New York governor seeks buyout of coastline homes

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to spend up to $400 million to buy and demolish homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy and permanently preserve the flood zone land as undeveloped New York coastline.

The idea received generally positive reviews Monday from New Yorkers in some of the storm’s hardest-hit communities.

Cuomo administration spokesman Rich Azzopardi told the Associated Press that the proposal calls for the state to use a portion of the $51 billion disaster relief package approved by Congress last week for the buyouts. The plan, first reported Monday by The New York Times, was presented to federal officials Friday, the spokesman said.

Judith Rodin is president of The Rockefeller Foundation, and she is one of four people who were appointed to the New York State 2100 Commission to come up with answers about how to protect the state from future storms.

“We haven’t done a lot of the flood plain mapping around the country,” Rodin told NPR. “Think about it this way: The insurance companies will keep raising the rates and public policy will have to guarantee residents if people can’t afford them.”

Rodin told the network that communities that opted for smaller sand dunes — so as not to obscure their ocean views — were dramatically more damaged than those that had opted for larger ones, sacrificing some of the view, but also bringing natural protection from high storm surges.

If approved, the buyout program would offer pre-Sandy full market value for homes in the 100-year flood plain that the storm and related flooding substantially damaged, the AP reported.

State officials have estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 homeowners might apply. Cuomo earlier raised the buyout proposal and other new measures to protect New York City’s underground infrastructure from flooding, which he said has been occurring far more often than once a century.

A spokeswoman for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said buyouts are just one of the options being considered. Others include moving electric and other critical systems to higher ground and increasing protection for coastlines, Lauren Passalacqua said.

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, a Staten Island Republican who has been supportive in early talks with residents about buyouts, said he supported Cuomo’s proposal and will back funding for other mitigation programs, such as elevating homes.

Certain neighborhoods, such as Staten Island’s Oakwood Beach, are “prime candidates for this type of program,” the AP reported him saying in a statement.

Click here for the AP report.

Click here for the NPR report.

Click here for the report by the New York State 2100 Commission.

— Compiled by Reagan Haynes


5 comments on “New York governor seeks buyout of coastline homes

  1. Bill C

    Now the politicians are starting to make a little sense. If you cannot get flood insurance on a house from a commercial insurance company, that is telling you something. It is hard not to feel for these poor displaced people, but when you live in low lying areas along the coast, you have to know you are taking a gamble. Kind of like when we go out in boats. If something bad happens, we know we only have ourselves to blame.
    The billions they spent on New Orleans drove me nutz. At LEAST 400 grand for each homeowner, and billiions in levies. Why in the world would you waste that much cash that we don’t have on perpetuating habitation on property BELOW sea level that is prone to constant hurricanes? They should have dug out the low lying areas in N.O. and put the dirt in the higher areas and turned the low areas into marinas! duh!

  2. Max

    Wait a minute, they want to take my federal tax dollars and buy back at full market value, homes on the edge of the sea that should have been fully insured? I’m not ok with that. When NC’s outer banks were hurricane ravaged, homeowners whose houses were destroyed and where there was significant erosion were just told they couldn’t rebuild. End of story.

  3. Curtis

    Add how is New York going to offset the loss in property tax revenue from this program? Oh, they will just raise everybody else’s taxes.
    So a 1000 year storm comes threw and they think we the tax payers must pay to have the coast cleared.
    When are we going to stop people from building in the mid west and hurricane alley because a tornado might or might not come.
    Hope this clears it all up.
    Have a nice day.

  4. lawrence w

    Starting to sound like who pays for people without health insurance.People who raped the value of their homes for cars,trips and other assorted stuff.People who come into this country illegally.People who don’t want to work because unemployment,ebt cards,welfare and aid for children pays more than they could ever make in the private world.

    Don’t the clam cops say that below the flood lines things CAN’T be touched???????

  5. AnonymousBob

    Did the government use eminent domain as the reason for not letting OBX residents rebuild? Do the owners still own the land but just can’t rebuild? Insurance covers the structure but doesn’t cover the land. How were the OBX land owners compensated if they no longer own the land?

    The New York plan makes perfect sense, but only if the amount paid is what is left over after insurance proceeds.

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