CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION EXPEDITES EFFORTS TO RAZE SANDY BATTERED HOMES TO PAVE THE WAY FOR REBUILDING SAFER, MORE RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
WITH 3,000 DEMOLITIONS IN PROGRESS, DEP COMMISSIONER MARTIN PLEDGES STATE COMMITMENT UNTIL JOB IS COMPLETE
(13/P72) TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin today toured demolition sites in neighborhoods of Brick and Toms River that were among the hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy, providing the mayors of the two towns the state’s plans to help towns like theirs rebuild to be safer and more resilient. Some 3,000 demolitions are taking place across the state, especially in towns across Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex counties.
“Under Governor Christie, we are now in phase two of Sandy recovery – long-term rebuilding. We are focused on helping New Jersey recover and making sure that we not only rebuild our infrastructure, homes and businesses, but that we rebuild lives,” said Commissioner Martin. “These demolition projects are an important step toward this goal by clearing the way for construction of a stronger, more resilient and safer coastline. The Christie Administration remains committed to working with local officials and residents every step of the way until the job is done and people are back in their homes.”
During the walking tour with Brick Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, Toms River Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher and Ocean County Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., Commissioner Martin said that the DEP and Department of Community Affairs (DCA) have been coordinating very closely with local and federal officials to ensure municipalities have the regulatory, financial and information tools they need to get reconstruction moving quickly following demolition. The tour included neighborhoods along the border of the two towns, including the Camp Osborn section of Brick and the Normandy Beach section of Toms River.
“This program is going to help many families remove these damaged structures, move forward in their recovery and continue to rebuild their lives,” said Mayor Acropolis. “This effort would not be moving forward right now if not for the assistance, cooperation and commitment from Governor Christie, Commissioner Martin and the DEP.”
“We have had numerous occasions to meet with Commissioner Martin and he has made himself available to offer any assistance that the township might need,” said Mayor Kelaher. “The cooperation with the DEP has been essential in the efforts to restore Toms River.”
DEP is taking the lead in providing demolition guidance to municipalities and helping to coordinate home demolitions that are being conducted through FEMA’s private property debris removal program. A flurry of demolitions is expected over the remainder of the summer. In particular, demolitions are occurring or planned shortly in some of the hardest hit towns, including Brick, Toms River, Mantoloking, Tuckerton, Berkeley, Little Egg Harbor, Keansburg and Union Beach.
The DEP has taken a number of key actions to ensure rebuilding occurs quickly, including:
- Adopting a permit by rule process that eliminates the need for DEP permits for property owners who elevate their properties to state standards based on the most up-to-date FEMA flood mapping;
- Adopting rules that streamline DEP permits for various types of vital rebuilding projects, an action that will aid reconstruction of impacted homes and businesses, assist the recovery of marinas and shellfish industries, help make coastal areas more resilient in future storms, and expedite dredging of storm-impacted private lagoons and marinas.
- Working with local governments to provide guidelines for the safe demolition of structures as well as providing demolition outreach to municipalities;
- Developing the system that safely and quickly removed more than 8 million cubic yards of land debris from storm-affected communities in the months after the storm, making demolition of severely damaged homes possible;
- Implementing the system that has removed more than 80,000 cubic yards of debris from New Jersey waterways, one of the largest undertakings of its kind ever in the nation;
- Extending an emergency order to allow local governments to rebuild impacted public infrastructure such as roads, bulkheads, and bridges.
The Department of Community Affairs has multiple programs and grant opportunities in place to assist homeowners rebuild or remain in their homes, including:
- The $600 million Homeowner Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program, which provides eligible homeowners up to $150,000 grants to help repair, elevate or rebuild their primary residences;
- The $180 million Homeowner Resettlement Program, which encourages eligible homeowners to remain in the nine counties that were most affected by the storm by providing $10,000 grants to resettle in their existing primary home or in the same county;
For more information on DEP Sandy Recovery initiatives, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/