N.J. looks into buying up flood-prone properties

The New Jersey Senate Budget Committee has advanced legislation aimed at helping Garden State residents get out of homes subject to repeated flooding.

The measure sponsored by Sen. Bob Gordon would allow towns and counties to use local open-space funds to buy homes in flood-prone areas.

“Rather than just rebuilding these properties over and over again, I think the homeowners would like the opportunity to get out and start their lives over,” Gordon said.

Saddle Brook Mayor Karen Chamberlain said the new program would be welcomed by residents who suffered extensive property damage in the floodwaters caused by recent storms.

“They are literally begging on hands and knees. We can’t do this anymore. They want out,” she said.

A New Jersey Sierra Club representative said while the legislation is a good step, a stable source of state funding is needed to buy swaths of homes and clear the land to provide a buffer capable of protecting other properties from flooding.

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