SAYREVILLE - Demolition began in Sayreville Thursday on homes bought out by the government after Sandy.

A house on Weber Avenue was the first to come down.

The state purchased 171 homes in Sayreville and South River in the latest round of Blue Acres buyouts.

Land in flood-prone neighborhoods will be left as open space to buffer the rest of the community. 

Homeowners like Robert Lahrman who want to stay say the buyouts are hurting their own recovery. "A lot of people have fixed their houses," he says. "We applied for grants from the state. We were awarded grants. We went through months of paperwork and proving things. And we were awarded them. And now all of a sudden all the grant money has been taken away from us. We were denied it because we're in an acquisition area."

Four homes in Sayreville are set to be torn down by the end of the week.