N.J. flood zone buyout program purchases 700th property

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Officials say New Jersey’s flood zone buyout program has closed on its 700th property.

The Blue Acres program funds the demolition of homes in flood prone areas throughout nine New Jersey counties and conversion of the land into open space. The program seeks to purchase clusters of homes for conversion into vacant land that can absorb flood waters and mitigate flooding nearby.

The state closed on the program’s 700th property, a residential property in South River, in late August.

The vast majority of the demolished homes were along inland and coastal waterways, including in Ocean Township, an Ocean County municipality on the Barnegat Bay that suffered severe flooding during Superstorm Sandy, and Monmouth County’s Keansburg.

Last year the state targeted Pleasantville, just outside of Atlantic City with frontage on a back bay. According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which administers the program, 25 homes are eligible for demolition there.

Blue Acres has secured federal funding for 1,022 properties and has made offers on 967 properties, closing on 700. More than 640 homes in 16 municipalities throughout nine counties have been demolished. But none have been along the Atlantic Ocean due to no willing sellers.

The buyouts are fueled by $375 million in funding, with the bulk from federal sources.

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