HomeSuburbanSuburban NewsDemolition of storm-damaged homes begins in Old Bridge

Demolition of storm-damaged homes begins in Old Bridge

By KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE — Almost five years after superstorm Sandy, the sounds of backhoes and dump trucks fill the crisp morning air on Cliffwood Way in the Laurence Harbor section of the township as the area begins to turn a new leaf.

Twelve storm-damaged homes — seven on Cliffwood Way, three on Bayshore Avenue, one on Pomona Boulevard and one on Shoreline Avenue — are currently being demolished as part of the first wave of homes to be taken down through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Blue Acres Buyout Program.

Old Bridge Business Administrator Christopher Marion said officials met with the consultant project team for the Blue Acres demolition on Feb. 1 and a notice to proceed with the demolition project had been issued.

“The project is 50 calendar days for completion no later than March 23, 2017,” he said, adding that he and Patrick Reardon, construction official and fire sub code official for the township, met on site with the Blue Acres Project team. “It’s a very fast-paced demolition project.”

Superstorm Sandy inundated the homes in the Laurence Harbor section of the township on Oct. 29, 2012.

Only a handful of residents on Cliffwood Way and Bayshore Avenue decided to remain in the area and have elevated or are in the process of elevating their homes.

In April 2015, the DEP extended buyouts to the 29 storm-damaged homes.

Appraisals on the 29 homes damaged were completed. The homes are located on Cliffwood Way, Bayshore Avenue, Shoreline Avenue, Raritan Boulevard, Pomona Boulevard and Appleby Street.

As of January, Marion said 24 of the 29 homes have been accepted for the Blue Acres Buyout program.

The homes are acquired at pre-storm market values. The average price at which homes are being acquired as part of the Blue Acres program is about $225,000.

After a Blue Acres purchase, the homes are demolished and the land is permanently preserved as open space for recreation or conservation purposes, state officials said.

In 2014, the storm-damaged homes that qualified for the program were identified by the DEP and approved by the Old Bridge Township Council.

Funding for the program is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through Community Development Block Grants to the DEP.

Marion said anyone who has questions about the demolition project is asked to contact his office at 732-721-5600, ext. 7902.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@gmnews.com.

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