The NJDEP has purchased its 600th home under the Superstorm Sandy Blue Acres Buyout Program. The Blue Acres program allows homeowners to sell houses damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 or in other large storms to the State at pre-storm value.
The Blue Acres program is a subset of the New Jersey Green Acres Program, which purchases flood-prone properties and converts them to open space for recreation or conservation. The program is entirely voluntary and uses federal disaster recovery funds and designated state funding to purchase damaged homes.
The Green Acres Program was designed to decrease damage caused by storms by leaving flood-prone areas open. Open land can absorb rainwater and runoff brought by heavy storms, reducing flooding in low-lying areas and reducing costs to homeowners and the state for cleanup.
The Superstorm Sandy Blue Acres Buyout Program was launched by the Christie administration on May 16, 2013 and is open to homeowners only. It does not require that all homeowners in a neighborhood agree to participate, and no property owners will be forced to participate. Properties are assessed by an independently licensed appraiser and offers are made based on pre-storm value.
Homeowners who are upside-down on their mortgages are encouraged to apply. A homeowner can choose to reject the buyout offer after their property is appraised. There is no set deadline for applications, but interested homeowners should apply as soon as possible since funding for buyouts is limited. If you are interested in applying for a buyout under Blue Acres, contact the DEP’s Blue Acres Program at (908) 984-0500 or visit http://www.state.nj.us/dep/greenacres/blue_flood_ac.html.