New York's Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed the allocation of $400 million to acquire coastal-area homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, with the ultimate goal of demolishing the properties and leaving the land permanently undeveloped.
The New York Times reports that Cuomo's program would offer residents with significant property damage the pre-storm value of their homes. Residents living in areas with a history of vulnerability to flooding would be provided a bonus for selling, and the bonus would be doubled if an entire block of residents agreed to sell and move.
Under the Cuomo plan, residential and commercial development would be prohibited on the acquired land, with some properties to be transformed into wetlands, sand dunes or public parks. It is unclear whether the governor would advocate the use of eminent domain laws to seize properties if residents declined to sell their homes.
As proposed, the Cuomo plan would be financed with federal funds, as opposed to state revenue. Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency has a history of financing the purchase of homes destroyed in natural disasters, the Obama administration has stated that it was too early to determine whether it would provide financial support for Cuomo's proposal.