STATEN ISLAND — A special permit aimed at speeding up the demolition of Hurricane Sandy damaged homes is being issued by New York's Department of Environmental Conservation.
The permit is designed to streamline the demolition of damaged homes within 100-feet of freshwater wetlands in the state's Community Development Block Grant — Disaster Recovery Program, the DEC said.
“The devastation of Hurricane Sandy affected thousands of homes and residents and New York State is committed to achieving greater resiliency to protect lives and property,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement.
“Governor Cuomo has led efforts to rebuild better and stronger, and this streamlined permit process will support projects that provide additional defense against flooding caused by storms like Sandy, Irene and Lee.”
Several neighborhoods in storm battered areas were offered a voluntary buyout with the program, which will destroy the homes and create open spaces to serve as buffer zones against future floods and also enhance flood retention, the DEC said.
While the DEC still needs to approve requests under the new permit before work can start, the agency said that the streamlined process will speed things up.
The permit will use a predefined construction standards and demolition process, the DEC said. It will also require materials to be properly removed and the area to be graded to make it stable, the DEC said.
In Staten Island, parts of Oakwood Beach and Ocean Breeze were offered to be a part of the buyout program. Other neighborhoods like New Dorp Beach have asked for the program to extend to them.
The permit only applies to homes adjacent to specific DEC-regulated wetland areas.