Owners contemplate rebulding or demolishing homes

November 19, 2012 3:13:10 PM PST
New York City says at least 900 homes right now are unsafe to live in after Hurricane Sandy.

The question is how many of those can be fixed and how many will have to be leveled?

A red tag on a house, there's about 900 citywide, means that house isn't safe anymore.

It also means the house will probably face demolition.

Owen Quinn says it's kind of obvious a lot of beachfront homes will have to go.

Owen Quinn/Homeowner 11:59 "Demolishing them if they're unsafe is probably the right thing to do but there should be some middle ground," Quinn said.

That middle ground means: What will the city do if a homeowner refuses to cooperate?

"In that case we have the legal authority to do it and I think a moral obligation to do it," Mayor Bloomberg said.

The mayor was careful, saying the city has to think about safety but he also tried to reassure homeowners.

"We don't bulldoze anybody's house down. Period. People shouldn't worry about that," Bloomberg said.

But again, if homeowners can't be found or refuse to cooperate, the city has to move forward.

"They are so severe they are unrecoverable and present a risk of collapse-not necessarily immediately but they will have to come down," NYC Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said.

That leads to the question: should houses be rebuilt if they're close to the ocean and could be hit again?

Kathleen Tomasetti spent the day with her contractor.

She's already cleaned up and is rebuilding.

"It's like a 100 year flood. I think it's going to happen once. And we'll rebuild, this is for our kids, where they live, we want them to be home," Tomassetti said.

But for every pledge to rebuild, there's apprehension now, should mother nature strike again.

"I'm one block up and I had five feet of water in my basement and I'm rattled," Quinn said.

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