NEW DORP BEACH — Residents of a Sandy-hit part of Staten Island are trying to make their neighborhood next on the list for state buyouts.
At a Wednesday night meeting of the New Dorp Beach Civic Association, residents signed "letters of intent" saying they wanted to take a buyout. They will be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office.
"We were waiting for Oakwood Beach, we were waiting for Ocean Breeze, now that that's been announced, it's time to move," said Dee Vadenburg of the Staten Island Taxpayers Association which is helping New Dorp Beach residents.
The majority of the packed meeting signed up with the association saying they would accept the buyout if offered, Vadenburg said.
For homeowner Fred Lizzi, who worries his part of New Dorp Beach won't be offered a buyout, selling to the state would be a chance to avoid high flood insurance rates.
"I would take it, I'm afraid of not being able to pay for the insurance," he said. "We're ready to move somewhere else, but we're not able to sell our home."
Vandenburg said it was unknown if parts of New Dorp Beach would qualify for the buyout program or be offered it.
She warned it could take up to a year before New Dorp Beach gets offered the program.
"This is a long process," she said.
The voluntary buyout program, which buys storm damaged homes for their pre-Sandy value and converts them to public land that won't be built on, started with just a small four-block stretch in Oakwood Beach.
The state expanded the reach of Oakwood Beach's program, and last month added Ocean Breeze to the neighborhoods offered buyouts.
At the announcement, Cuomo said that any other neighborhood which wants the buyouts would be considered if enough residents ask for it.
At Wednesday night's meeting, the civic association passed out letters of intent for residents who are interested in taking a buyout to sign.
Vandenburg said the state needs at least 80% of residents to sign on before they consider a buyout program.
But some at the meeting did not want to leave their neighborhood.
Sam Sumner, who's still living in a trailer next to his home on Maple Terrace, said that he put too much work and money into his home to just leave it.
"I don't want the buyout," he said. "We scraped and saved and bought our house."