Staten Island — The state has expanded its buyout program for homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy to to the Graham Beach neighborhood, New York State's Office of Storm Recovery announced over the weekend.
Homes in the area bounded by Jefferson Avenue to the west, Olympia Boulevard on the north, Father Capodanno Boulevard to the south and Naughton Avenue in the east will be eligible for the new buyout immediately, the Office of Storm Recovery said.
"Offering the residents of Graham Beach a buyout makes sense given its topography, lack of infrastructure, proximity to the Bluebelt and continued vulnerability to the forces of nature," Borough President James Oddo said in a statement.
The buyout program, already offered in parts of Oakwood Beach and Ocean Breeze, purchases Sandy-damaged houses from homeowners in the neighborhoods for their pre-storm value plus a 10% incentive, though the state has previously paid more than double the estimated value for some homes.
Residents who decide to stay in the city will also get another 5%.
After the buyout, the home will be demolished and the land will be used to for wetlands restoration and to create coastal buffer zones, the storm recovery office said.
"While these families love their community, and some have been here for generations, Hurricane Sandy showed us that the area is clearly more suitable for open space," Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said in a statement.
"I'm pleased to know that the land will be better purposed to protect surrounding residents."
Since September 2013, the buyout program has bought 170 homes in Oakwood Beach for a total of $70 million, and will start the process of buying 130 homes in Ocean Breeze soon, the storm recovery office said.