‘Manville is worth saving.’ Residents frustrated with state’s flood plan reversal

More Manville residents are calling out Gov. Phil Murphy for pulling funding on home elevations in their town. News 12 New Jersey spoke to a homeowner who says she was approved for home elevation only to get denied just days later.
“When you do everything, in the process to fill out all the paperwork for elevation and get approved, and then the governor takes it off the plate and says, ‘We’re not giving you anything,’ that’s what’s upsetting because we did everything we had to do,” says Cristina Lazzeri.
Lazzeri has lived in Manville for 17 years. When she first bought her home, North Third Avenue wasn’t considered a flood zone. This changed six years ago. Hurricane Ida wasn’t Lazzeri’s first storm, but it was the worst.
“We had water in our basement in Irene, and then Ida came. That’s when we got water in the first floor,” she says.
Lazzeri evacuated with her family and their three dogs in canoes to a friend’s house on the next block. She was out of her home for four months. When it was all said and done Lazzeri’s basement was completely lost, and her first floor had 4 feet of water.
Lazzeri wants to stay in Manville, but she says the state isn’t giving her family good options. Buyouts mean heftier taxes for those who choose to stay.
“You can’t keep buying people out and not have a plan to set taxes off. You need to elevate to keep the people that want to stay, and the people that want the buyout take the buyouts,” Lazzeri says.
Residents say the Blue Acres program is lowballing them on the buyouts and that’s forcing residents to pass on it. For those who take them, their departure causes the town to lose millions of dollars in tax money. Lazzeri and many like her are stuck between wanting to stay but not being able to afford to pay for home elevations on their own. They are calling on the governor to change his mind.
“It’s just very disappointing that the governor can just look at Manville and say, ‘It’s OK. You people aren’t worth saving.’ Gov. Murphy just needs to reverse what he did to our town because Manville is worth saving,” Lazzeri says.