State buy back program won’t add new neighborhoods

State will offer different buyout program to Sandy damage victims

Post-Sandy damage on Staten Island
Post-Sandy damage on Staten Island

Staten Island’s Graham Beach, added to New York State‘s buyout program last weekend, is the last neighborhood the program will serve.

The state told civic leaders Friday that other programs will be offered to homeowners in Sandy-damaged areas in its stead, but residents who submitted requests were still unhappy with the decision.

“A lot of hard work went into this,” Dee Vandenberg, president of the Staten Island Taxpayers Association, which helped New Dorp Beach and South Beach submit buyout requests, told DNAinfo. “There are day when we just feel like we might as well all quit. It’s rough, it’s very, very rough.”

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The New York State Office of Storm Recovery will instead use federal funds to purchase Sandy victims’ homes on the NY Rising Home Acquisition Program. The program works similarly, but the city can redevelop purchased sites rather than use it for wetlands restoration or to create coastal buffer zones.

The scenario often works better for residents, an OSR spokesperson told DNAinfo, because the majority neighborhood approval isn’t required to get the funds.

Still, some residents aren’t on board with a possible redevelopment scenario.

“There are areas still left on this island that should not have been built on,” Vandenberg told the news site. “We don’t understand the reasoning behind all this.” [DNAinfo]Julie Strickland