Blue Acres program holds buyout information meetings for homeowners in flood-prone areas

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Blue Acres program held the first of several informational sessions they plan to have this month to help homeowners who live in flood-prone areas better understand the voluntary flood buyout program.
These one-on-one information sessions are intended for homeowners affected by the December and January floods that impacted New Jersey. Families can sit down with a Blue Acres staff member and get information about the program and ask questions. News 12 New Jersey spoke to homeowners as they were coming out of their meetings.
The topic of flood buyouts is a hot one in some towns as communities are looking at that as an option for people who live in flood-prone areas. David Woll, of Pompton Lakes, said there are just a handful of homes left on his street.
“About six homes left on River Edge. Two on the river that didn’t take the buyouts and four on the other and that’s about it,” Woll said.
As good as the program may sound, a buyout may not be an ideal situation for some. Many of the homeowners News 12 has spoken to in recent weeks, especially those in Manville, say it’s not worth it. They say often they feel lowballed.
Homeowners from several towns in North Jersey filed into the municipal building in Pompton Lakes Thursday night for a one-on-one session with a Blue Acres rep. They were hoping to get some answers about the program.
Pompton Lakes Mayor Michael Serra says he supports the Blue Acres program but the state needs to come up with a better plan for how communities can handle the sometimes-millions lost in tax revenue.
“It’s tough for the towns. We’re a small town, our tax base is divided by 50 homes that are now left. so it took us almost three years to back into the taxes from the houses we lost,” Serra says.
The next information session will be at the public library in Lodi on Feb. 8. There will be a virtual session on Feb. 15.