From the Staten Island Advance:
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The Cuomo administration has enhanced the home buyout zone in a portion of Oakwood Beach ravaged by superstorm Sandy.
About 120 homes on the periphery of Fox Beach were added by the state, bringing to 300 the number of homes eligible for a buyout, with a potential expansion to 510 homes.
The area, which borders city, state and federally-owned land, includes Riga Street, Merkel Place and Delwit Avenue, which were initially left out of the enhanced buyout area outlined by the state.
The homes are now eligible for a pre-storm value buyout, along with a 10 percent incentive if the homeowners remain residents of Staten Island.
"The damage caused by superstorm Sandy was nothing short of devastating, and no one knows that more than the homeowners whose lives were turned upside-down," said Matthew Wing, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "The state's buyout program is an important opportunity for those impacted New Yorkers to truly have a fresh start, and expanding the coverage zone to include these additional residents was the right thing to do as we continue to build back smarter and stronger than before."
Joe Tirone of the Oakwood Beach Buyout Committee had words of praise: "I think it's great. That area is perfect for what the governor has identified as criteria to be considered. It is surrounded by the Blue Belt. It acts as a buffer for the inland portion going toward Hylan Boulevard. All of these homes were substantially damaged."
In a joint letter to Cuomo in May, state Sens. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) and Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) asked him to consider the expansion.
They noted the area is 50 feet from the enhanced Oakwood Beach buyout zone the governor highlighted during a visit to Staten Island announcing the program. They said Riga Street and Delwit Avenue are south of Mill Road and bounded by an estuary of salt tidal marsh bordering Fox Beach Lane and Kissam Avenue.
They said that while some residents moved back home, they still want to be bought out because they are "consistently inundated by flooding."
Ms. Savino called the enhancement "wonderful news," but added: "The fight continues to have sections of South Beach, like Sunnymeade Village, sections of Great Kills Beach, Midland Beach, Ocean Breeze and New Dorp Beach included in new or expanded enhanced zones."
on August 19, 2013 at 7:51 PM, updated August 20, 2013 at 1:43 AM