N.J. considers $100 million bond issue to buy, demolish houses in flood-prone areas

    A New Jersey Assembly committee has advanced legislation that would provide more money to buy out homeowners in flood-prone areas.

    The measure would authorize the state to issue $100 million in bonds for “Blue Acres” projects. If voters approve the bonding, most of the money would fund buying up the houses, their demolition and then preservation of the cleared land for recreation.

    Assemblywoman Connie Wagner says residents in flood zones are tired of rebuilding.

    “We now know that homes never should have been built in certain areas,” she said. “The bottom line is they’re there. Do we continue the same pattern or do we try a new approach?”

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    Wagner, D-Bergen, says $15 million would be allocated for some homes to be elevated.

    “Some property owners don’t want to leave their communities, and they know that if they elevate the homes that they will be OK,” she said. “We also know that municipalities are in fear of losing all of their assessments. They need to have their tax base.”

    Environmental groups support the legislation, but they would prefer that it be combined into a bond act that would also provide money for other land-preservation programs.

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