Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to spend as much as $400 million out of a $51 billion federal relief package to purchase homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and demolish them, reports the New York Times. If Cuomo gets his way, residents living in the flood plain whose homes were significantly damaged would be reimbursed to the full pre-storm value of their homes to relocate. In an effort to encourage people to relocate, homeowners who moved within their county would get a five percent bonus above the pre-storm market. This plan includes about 10,000 homes.
The land would then be permanently preserved, never to be built upon again, though some of the homes would be turned into dunes, wetlands, or other natural buffers that could protect coastal communities from future storms. More land would be converted into public park space.
Cuomo believes New York needs to rethink costal development and has been open with his feelings about global climate change, noting that he has responded to more extreme weather in his first two years as governor than his father, Mario M. Cuomo, did in his 12 years in the job. He is convinced "there are some parcels that Mother Nature owns. She may only visit once every few years, but she owns the parcel and when she comes to visit, she visits."
As tempting as a five percent bonus would be, many of the families in the shoreline communities live in homes that have been passed down to them through generations. Still, The Real Deal reports that the idea has been received warmly by area residents, and as many as 1,500 homeowners might apply.
"A lot of people need that help," Long Beach resident Tom Mannion told the AP.
The proposal will require approval from federal officials, though federal officials seemed receptive to their proposal. We can expect details in the next two weeks.