N.J. demolishes 500th house under flood buyout program

Heavy machinery is used to demolish a house along the Delaware Bay in Lawrence Township. (Image: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection)

Heavy machinery is used to demolish a house along the Delaware Bay in Lawrence Township. (Image: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection)

New Jersey officials are celebrating the demolition of the 500th house under the state’s flood buyout program.

The Blue Acres program funds the demolition of homes in flood prone areas throughout New Jersey and conversion of the land into open space. The buyouts are fueled by $375 million in funding, with the vast majority from federal sources.

Homes have been demolished along inland and coastal waterways, including in Ocean Township, an Ocean County municipality along the Barnegat Bay that suffered severe flooding during Superstorm Sandy.

The 500th demolition occurred along another bay, the Delaware, in Cumberland County’s Lawrence Township, according to a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection news release.

The house is one of 20 storm-damaged structures on a narrow barrier island flanked by marshlands that have been removed over the past two weeks along with pilings and docks from 14 additional lots.

The demolition was timed to avoid impacting migratory shorebirds, horseshoe crabs and other wildlife in this ecologically sensitive area, which will eventually become part of a state Wildlife Management Area.

“We receive calls on a daily basis from homeowners throughout New Jersey who face living with repeated flooding and paying high flood insurance premium and want Blue Acres to purchase their properties,” said Blue Acres Director Fawn Z. McGee. “The program provides a way to move families to safer places without losing the equity they’ve invested in their homes.

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