I’m outta here! That’s what some Staten Islanders will soon be saying now that the state is ready to buy their storm damaged homes.
The hard hit area of Oakland Beach is first in line for a new program under which the state will buy waterfront properties vulnerable to storms. Governor Cuomo says the neighborhood will serve as a test case.
The idea is to buy properties and return them to nature rather than use disaster relief funding on houses that will forever be in danger of being destroyed by strong storms like Superstorm Sandy. Sal Importa says he has lived on Staten Island since 1974.
“I think its about time because we’ve been trying to fight this since 1992 when we got 4 feet of water and now we have had 15 feet.” he added ” We’ve been waiting a long time for something like this to happen.”
Oakwood Beach was devastated by the storm with homes being completely wiped out. Some 141 homeowners have banded together to say they want out and welcomed the governors announcement. Homeowners will get 100% of the pre-storm value of their homes.
They will get another 10 percent if the home is in a zone the state wants to return to nature. If the homeowners stays on Staten Island he gets another 5 percent. Sal Importa says he’ll go.” I’ll look for another house. I really want to stay on Staten Island, I like Staten Island. It’s where we grew up, and I want to stay here.”
It’s not clear yet how the state will handle people who decide they do not want to leave but the Cuomo administration says they will not force homeowners to sell.