Cuomo Offers Sandy Homeowners Less Money in Buyout Program

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A Sandy-damaged home in Midland Beach, Staten Island.

The Cuomo administration is telling homeowners to expect to get a lot less money if they want their Sandy-damaged properties to be bought out by the state.

Under a revised plan submitted to the federal government (PDF p. 41), only homeowners in the most vulnerable flood areas, called V zones, would be eligible to receive the pre-storm value of their homes. Others would have their houses appraised at their post-storm value.

The program will also extend pre-storm prices to homeowners in certain targeted areas, as in the buyouts underway in Oakwood Beach, Staten Island. But the plan says those "will be very limited in scope."

A state official says the old plan was changed because the Bloomberg administration was concerned it would have let too many properties revert to open space. That's because federal rules require that anything bought at full market value has to be kept undeveloped forever, to create flood overflow areas. Acquiring homes at post-storm values permits someone else to redevelop the properties.