City moves forward with Sandy buyouts on Staten Island

But a few locals are holding their ground

TRD New York /
Sep.September 21, 2014 01:00 PM

Following Hurricane Sandy, the community of Fox Beach on Staten Island was deemed too dangerous and too expensive because of the rising cost of flood insurance. Now that neighborhood is being raised, and locals bought out. But some are still fighting to save their homes.

“I don’t know if they are offering me enough money, where I could buy something else for us. The guy down there moved into a studio. I don’t want to do that once I’ve owned a house,” Franca Costa told NPR. Costa is now one of only a handful of holdouts left.

But officials argue that it isn’t only Hurricane Sandy that makes living at Fox Beach a bad idea. It’s a wetland that floods in heavy rains and is barely above sea level. And in hot weather, wildfires break out.

“If you look at what we are in the midst of right here, you realize houses don’t belong here, period” said Joe Tirone, who has convinced New York state to buy out whoever wanted to sell. “It’s insane to think this is what it looked like 30 or 40 years ago and someone said, ‘I can build some homes here.’ ”

Governor Andrew Cuomo has earmarked $600 million of federal Sandy relief money to buying out roughly 750 homes on Staten Island and on Long Island.

“Living along the coast and having an ocean view is very enticing. Unfortunately, there are some coastal areas where that is problematic,” Eric Goldstein, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said. [NPR] Christopher Cameron

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