Flood-stricken New Jersey residents look into government-funded home buyout program

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Friday, February 2, 2024
Buyout program seeks to help flood stricken NJ homeowners
CeFaan Kim has the story.

POMPTON LAKES, New Jersey (WABC) -- The flooding in parts of New Jersey over the past few months left mounts of headaches for residents.

Countless residents from those affected areas came out to meet with New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection officials in Pompton Lakes Thursday night to learn about the Blue Acres Program.

The program is voluntary and it relocates flood-stricken residents who are considering government-funded buyouts of their homes.

It eligible, homeowners would be offered fair market value for their homes, using state and federal funds.

"I've been in this town 60 years," said David Woll of Pompton Lakes. "So, I've been through enough floods."

For 10-year-old Melina, who says she was trapped inside her Wayne home during the recent storms, it's a tough decision.

"I like my school and I wanna stay in my school, but I don't like the flooding," she said.

Her family bought their Wayne home six years ago.

But the flooding problems have been worse than expected.

Meanwhile for towns and cities impacted by flooding, they face a different problem: if a homeowner or resident takes a buyout, where will they go?

"We got 50 homes bought out about 10 years ago. On our side of it, it's great for the residents," said Pompon Lakes Mayor Michael Serra. "But it's tough for the town. We're a small town. Our tax base is divided by 50 homes that are now left."

In Pompton Lakes, the mayor says many of the residents who are considering buyouts are older and tired of dealing with flooding.

They say they would like to stay in town, but there are few options.

"I would love to leave the state of New Jersey," said Woll. "It's getting too expensive."

The next forum will be held on Feb. 8 at the Lodi Public Library.

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CeFaan Kim has the story.


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