- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

SOUTH RIVER, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey officials have completed buyouts of eight homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy in South River as its program to buy and demolish storm-prone properties continues.

So far, the state has funding for 424 buyouts statewide.

The Department of Environmental Protection says 169 property owners have accepted buyout offers in South River and Sayreville. The two Middlesex County municipalities sustained significant flooding when Sandy’s storm surge pushed from Raritan Bay into the South River.

“It’s good for South River, for the community, that they’re making the land open space,” said Tom Somers, one of the South River residents who recently sold his home to the state under the program.

The eight homes purchased at pre-storm prices are located next to the river, and range from $103,000 to $238,000.

The state eventually hopes to buy 1,000 homes in areas affected by Sandy, as well as 300 more in other towns. In addition to Sayreville and South River, the DEP has secured funding for potential buyouts in Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Newark and the Delaware Bay community of Lawrence Township.

Other buyouts have been explored in Old Bridge, Linden, and another section of Woodbridge, using a recently announced second round of federal Sandy buyout dollars, once that funding gets federal approval.

The houses will be razed and the land returned to its natural state as a storm buffer.


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