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24 More Hoffman Grove Homes May Be Demolished

Homes could be the latest ones to meet the chopping block. The township has already purchased and demolished 70 homes in Hoffman Grove to date. The area is one of the most flood-prone areas in Wayne.

The town council will vote Wednesday on whether or not to award a contract to demolish two dozen homes in the Hoffman Grove section of town.

If the council approves the $174,000 contract between the township and Grinnell Recycling Inc. 24 homes in one of the worse flood-prone areas in the township will be demolished. Each home will be demolished at a cost of no more than $7,200; an additional $800 will be spent on the abatement of asbestos at one of the properties. Debris from each site will be removed.

The township has already purchased and demolished more than 70 homes in Hoffman Grove in two rounds of acquisitions. It cost approximately $450,000 to demolish those homes.

Residents participating in the program are given fair market value for their property. The homes are purchased with a $20 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Inclusion in the program is based on the amount and frequency of flood damange that has occurred on a specific property.

Sandy Galacio, director of the township’s office of emergency management, said that the township will not be taking any more bids out on contracts to demolish homes in Hoffman Grove this year.

Galacio said officials may take bids out on contracts to demolish 70 properties outside of Hoffman Grove later on this year, but the township is waiting to receive grant money to start the process.

The state Department of Environmental Protection will contract to demolish 56 properties in town this year, including one or two in Hoffman Grove, but the township must first purchase the homes.

Galacio said if they are acquired before the end of the year, the township would put out bid requests to demolish those properties in 2012.

The township from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Program to buy out the homes.  FEMA announced in December 2011 that it awarded more than $28 million in grants to municipalities to buy out in the Passaic River Flood Basin.

Wayne was one of the municipalities in the basin that experienced record flooding when Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee swept through the area last August and September.  

Residents said the flooding resulting from those two storms was the . That flooding came not even six months after another flood event shut down major highways and drove people from their homes . 

Scondo May 02, 2012 at 11:51 AM
How many have yet to be acquired? the history of the neighborhood shows that it was never intended as a year round permanent community.
Wayne's World May 02, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Bravo. I commend the town for pursuing this strategy. It's a shame that the foresight was lacking not to allow permanent structures in the river basin to begin with. Short of the water diversion plan which will never be funded, this is a great solution. No one should be living within a quarter mile of the either the Passaic or Pompton Rivers within the Wayne borders. A great start and every little bit helps.
Rob Burke May 02, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Hey Scondo! Come on over! We're building our Victory Garden right now. We'd welcome your help or just the pleasure of your company over a cup of coffee. Just ordered 15 hens, too...
Al Scala May 02, 2012 at 07:21 PM
It would be interesting to know if the National Flood Insurance Program now or at any time was subsidized by the Federal Gov't. Not quite sure if it could make it simply on the premium it collects from its insureds. If it was subsidized now or in the past which allowed the program to pay its claims, we may be paying for these homes more than once!
Scondo May 02, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Al, the NFIP has for all times been adminstered by the Federal Govt. through FEMA, and federal subsidy has always been part of it. The program has never had an actuarially sound base. In other words it has always run at a loss. BTW, no private insurer is ever going to insure against flood in a flood zone. From a report to Congress: Reducing losses to the program resulting from policy subsidies and repetitive loss properties. The program has lost money and is not actuarially sound because about 29 percent of the policies in force are subsidized but appropriations are not provided to cover the subsidies. Owners of structures built before the flood zone was included in the program pay reduced premiums that represent only about 35-40 percent of the true risk premium. Further, repetitive loss properties—properties with two or more losses in a 10-year period—add to program losses as they represent 38 percent of claims losses but account for 2 percent of insured properties. Wayne and vicinity are known to be among the highest incidence of repetitiove loss properties. This is one reason why buyout makes some sense.
Scondo May 02, 2012 at 08:03 PM
@Rob, Will do, not this weekend, I am doing the 5 Borough Bike Tour over in NYC, so I am a little busy, but I will get there eventually. Thanks for the invite.
Al Scala May 02, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Scondo....Thanks for the info. The point I make is that many of these homes if not all have had multiple claims over the years. If the water hits the 1st level, excluding the basement, which has happened many times. your loss at that point is significant. I would assume Hoffmans Grove all by itself has had losses well into the millions aggregately over the years.
Scondo May 02, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Hoffmans Grove was actually the impetus for the NFIP to change its policy to exclude personal property coverage of property in basements. It used to be that contents in basements were covered. However, repetitive claims for damaged personal property in the "raised" basements of Hoffmans produced and investigation wherein it was determined that some persons were actually purchasing contents at garage sales to store in the basements for purposes of making money on the claims. So the policy language was changed to exclude basements. Aggregated claims I am sure were in the millions.
Rob Burke May 02, 2012 at 10:11 PM
The sooner the better! We could use all the help available...Check out the pics on our Facebook page (Wayne auto spa) to see our progress from today.
leanbean May 03, 2012 at 12:27 AM
@Scondo, Your correct in your statement. Not only where some of the residents buying and stacking. They were also moving items from house to house as the Ins. adjusters were making appointments with them to view there losses. I lived there for 11 yrs and watch the same riding mower and snow blower go from house to house. I often wondered why they didn't write down the serial number after it was claimed. I left after the 84 flood. I gave the place away for $36,000. And about 12 years later it was bought out for $112,000. But to tell the truth. If the 84 flood never happened. I would have still been living there. And would have have lost everything last year. It was a great area to live when the river stayed with in it's banks. You couldn't ask for better neighbors. But life goes on. And some day I hope to see the tunnel go in. Then the Township can make a great Aqua Park out of the area. Seeing it can never be built on again.
Scondo May 03, 2012 at 04:17 PM
lean, I appreciate your validating my statement, usually I get the opposite reaction. But I remember those times. FEMA began an investigation and determined that there was a significant problem and actually changed their coverage to exclude personal property in basements. With the profit motive removed it became a different ball game in the Grove.
Wayne Resident May 03, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Why do you insist on telling us your personal business? Really, who cares you are doing the bike tour...jeez
Nose Wayne May 04, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Leanbean,it's a shame you lost so much money.i had many friends in the grove who like you moved out of harms way.It is a beautiful place when the water is not shooting out from the railroad bridge into the neighborhood.A shame the flood plain has been filled in(Nj Trainsit Park And Ride) that has contributed to the flooding.

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