Some Sandy Devastated Homes Being Demolished

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Normandy Beach. July 10, 2013

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Workers demolish RIch Hennion's Sandy-damaged home in Normandy Beach (photo by Phil Gregory)

Some Jersey Shore homes that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy are being demolished with the help of a government-funded program.

The Private Property Debris Removal Program allows municipalities to tear down homes that were damaged beyond repair by the storm, and FEMA picks up 90 percent of the cost.

Hundreds of houses in Brick Township and Toms River that now pose hazards will be removed.

Brick Mayor Steve Acropolis says it will be a big help for hard-hit residents.

“After you’ve just come through a storm, after your home is off the foundation, from a financial standpoint it means a lot. Instead of having to spend 10-or-20 thousand dollars out of their own pocket to take that home down, some of these homes are right in the middle of right-of-ways, it will help them financially.”

Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher says the badly damaged homes need to be removed.

 “First of all they’re bad for morale. Secondly they’re dangerous, and they’re an attractive nuisance I’m sure. Kids would want to be climbing in and out of them. Some of them are half tipped over. They’re structurally dangerous.”

Rich Hennion says it was hard to watch his house in Normandy Beach being demolished.

“We’ve only been in house for four years, four summers, but the family loved it, my wife loved it, the kids loved it. It’s sad to watch this go, but it’s the first step in the rebuilding process. So it’s actually a positive in some ways.”

Hennion says he plans to rebuild as soon as possible.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin says emergency orders signed by the governor make the permitting process easier for people to rebuild after the homes are demolished.

“Rebuilding these homes in the same footprint or even around the same footprint is easy. They can do that right away provided they build up to the right standards and the building standards, the current building standards.”

Officials hope the demolition process can be completed by the end of the year.


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