Riverlawn Drive Resident Still Rebuilding—A Year Later
Ken Doreumus has been trying to rebuild his two homes for months as he deals with government officials, his insurance company and his bank.
A few concrete bricks are all that remain of Ken Doremus’ house.
Doremus actually owns two homes on Riverlawn Drive. He was forced to demolish one of them because of the 7 1/2 feet of water Tropical Storm Irene brought to the flood-prone neighborhood in 2011.
“With flooding, you lose everything,” Doremus said.
Doremus lives in the Mountain View section of town, one area of town Irene hit particualy hard. He paid a combined $85,000 for both properties in 2006.
Doremus has been stuck in unending circle of paperwork and phone calls.
For much of that time Doremus, a network administrator for Merk Pharmaceuticals, has been fighting with his insurance company and his bank over the fate of his two properties. He’s experienced three floods since 2007. He isn't the only resident fighting through so much red tape and burracuracy to fix his home. He is trying to have insurance at least pay for a new foundation.
"I'm beyond the point of getting mad. That's not going to do me any good at this point and it's not going to make my home get built any faster," Doremus said. "I just have to deal with it."
He’s been on the buyout waiting list for three years. It is difficult for him to make progress with the situation because officials need to see a completed house before they give him fair market value for the property.
Doremus was forced to tear one house down because of the severity of the damage it received. Getting the money to get the permits and rebuild the home has been difficult.
“I expect the house not be rebuilt for about a year,” Doremus said.
President Obama visited nearby Fayette Avenue in the days following Irene. He promised area residents the federal government would "be there for them" to help them rebuild their homes.
Obama allocated $1 million ealier this year to help find a permanent solution to flooding in the Passaic River Basin. The township has received grant money to buyout dozens of homes in town, but the process takes time and not everyone qualifies.
Doremus said buying out properties isn't the answer to flooding.
"They take too long and they don't stop flooding from happening," he said. "There has to be something that can be done to alleviate the problem, pumping stations, floodwalls. Anything."