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Elevate More Homes in Flood Basin, Senator Says

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio wants the state to examine appropriating funds so residents in the Passaic River Basin who don't qualify for a buyout could elevate their homes.

A state senator is urging that more funds be appropriated to raise houses and businesses in the Passaic River Basin as part of a permanent solution to flooding in the basin.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio, a Republican representing District 26, toured part of Bergen County Monday that was damaged by Tropical Storm Sandy. Pennacchio wants state officials to appropriate more funds to raise homes and businesses in the basin.

“Not everyone qualifies for a buyout,” Pennacchio said. “I’d like to see a program where the state can help do that. Raising homes is a lot less cheaper than it is to knock down homes and doesn’t permanently eliminate ratables.”

Pennacchio suggested having a program where people can apply for low-interest loans to raise their homes a few feet and above floodwaters.

“It’s something we should at least look into,” Pennacchio said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency controls who receives federal money to raise their homes. Pennacchio was not aware of any state program that appropriates funds to elevate homes or businesses in flood prone areas.

FEMA has appropriated millions of dollars to buy out homes in Wayne and other municipalities in the basin. Qualifying residents are given fair market value for their homes, which are then knocked down and the properties left vacant. Those residents who don’t qualify for a buyout may qualify to have their homes elevated several feet.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is examining several possible long-term solutions to flooding in the basin. Constructing a combination of levees, floodwalls, home elevations and improving water flow is one of the solutions.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

YGBFKM December 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Improve water flow??? CLEAN OUT THE RIVERS and stop the ENDLESS STUDIES and $Millions being PISSED AWAY!!!
lovethetunes December 04, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I personally would never want to stay in a flood-stricken area. Elevation = still putting our emergency personnel at risk and residents still have to get in and out of their homes! How about the elderly that have tons of steps to climb? It just doesn't work to me! Are the tax dollars you are trying to preserve really worth it in the long run when there is a major cost involved with flooding to all communities with flood-stricken neighborhoods? Give each homeowner the option - buy-out or elevation and turn those properties back into natural filtration areas as they once were. Remember many homes should not have been built in those areas in the first place and then work on true flood relief solutions!

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