Staten Island Sandy Victimslend a helping hand to Oklahoma

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UPDATE: Midland Avenue Neighborhood Relief will be helping and reaching out to our neighbors in Oklahoma.We have seen charities and so called relief agencies fall short when it comes to keeping compassion and humanity when people are in need of help after a disaster.We will be forwarding resources and funds to the people of Oklahoma whether it be delivering it through mutual aid networks with ourselves on the ground or diverting funds to proper efforts there.We stand with Oklahoma. We know ourselves firsthand what it is like to be left to our own means. Help us stand with them.


DONATE HERE: https://www.wepay.com/donations/2111693072

Staten Island waterfront homes in Great Kills get green light

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — - Mother Nature – or anyone else – will not get in the way of this project.

Three one-family homes expected to be built on Mansion Avenue, near the water, are going to be built, promises expert Mid-Island architect Glen V. Cutrona, and when they are built, they’ll exceed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulations regarding base flood elevations.

"The homes will be a shining example of what coastal development needs to be," said Cutrona.

The buildings are going on a privately owned parcel of land on Mansion owned by Harold Donald. Two years ago, every politician signed a letter to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) requesting the agency not allow Donald to have structures built on wetlands bordering the water.

The DEC approved Donald’s application to build on the grounds in June, four months before Hurricane Sandy struck Staten Island.

The city Buildings Department (DOB) has already issued permits that allow for construction, said Cutrona, regarding the property at Block 5202, Lot 173.

The architect, who has an office in Grant City, explained that he’s studied many examples of waterfront building so he can design this project, and admitted the upcoming houses will be beautiful and safe for the environment.

The 92,856-square-foot property is located in Zone V, which stands for velocity, the most vulnerable zone, where the speed of rushing water and the action of waves poses an additional risk.

Cutrona said the homes will be constructed on pilings above the flood zone, where it will be able to take on waves and storms of Sandy’s magnitude. He also said the structures he’ll be building will be built in honor of the city’s new codes and requirements.

"There is so much information available because of coastal sites developed in the United States and the world, that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel," said Cutrona, who said he’ll be proud of the project’s outcome. "We’re going to embrace the tools available to us."

He called it a positive project that will be the gold standard of building on the coastline post-Sandy.

Numerous parties, including the Richmond County Country Club, and state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn), have previously criticized the project, saying it’s in harm’s way, especially now since Sandy occurred.

Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore) said the site’s owner, Donald, has been approved by the DEC and DOB, and since it’s his land, he has the right to build.

"It’s his property that he owns. He went through the procedures that are laid out by government through DEC and received his permits from DOB," said Ignizio. "He has to build to the standards we’ve mapped out."

(Source: silive.com)

OPERATION PROM!

OPERATION PROM!

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Cuomo announces buyout program for residents of Staten Island’s Oakwood Beach

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans for a home buyout program for victims of Hurricane Sandy during his visit to the College of Staten Island.

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http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/02/gov_andrew_cuomo_announces_buy.html#incart_maj-story-2

OAKWOOD BEACH COMMUNITY MEETING

COMMUNITY MEETING
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2013
7:00PM
ST. CHARLES AUDITORIUM

Elected Officials to attend

WE WILL BE DISCUSSING THE FOLLOWING ISSUES:
1) CUOMO BUYOUT PLAN PROPOSAL
-HIS OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT SHOULD BE MADE WITHIN TWO WEEKS!!!
-WE BELIEVE THAT GOVERNOR CUOMO’S PLAN MAY BE EVEN BETTER THAN THE FEMA BUYOUT PLAN THAT WE HAD BEEN STUDYING. IT SEEMS THAT HOUSES WILL QUALIFY MORE EASILY, AND BONUSES ARE BEING OFFERED TO GIVE FURTHER INCENTIVES TO PARTICIPATE!!!
-WE BELIEVE HIS PROPOSAL WILL RESULT IN A FASTER BUYOUT PROCESS.
-WE WILL DISCUSS THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT DECIDING TO RENOVATING YOUR HOME WHILE WAITING FOR THE BUYOUT.
2) MORTGAGE RELIEF FOR BUYOUT CANDIDATES
-HOW CAN YOU PRESERVE YOUR CREDIT?
-FORBEARANCE AGREEMENTS, SHORT SALES, MODIFICATIONS ALL MUST BE MADE AVAILABLE WITHOUT AFFECTING CREDIT.
-WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH INSURANCE PROCEEDS IF YOU DON’T PLAN TO REBUILD?
3) RELOCATION
-HOW SHOULD YOU PREPARE TO PURCHASE A NEW HOME AND WILL YOU BE ELIGIBLE?
-PRE-QUALIFICATION
-DOWNPAYMENT ASSISTANCE
-WHAT MAY YOUR CURRENT HOUSE BE WORTH PRE-STORM?
ALL OF THESE ISSUES WILL BE DISCUSSED AT THE MEETING. WE WILL HAVE OFFICIALS (TO BE DETERMINED), AND REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS THERE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS.
***PLEASE EMAIL ANY SPECIFIC QUESTIONS NOT OUTLINED ABOVE REGARDING THESE THREE TOPICS. WE WILL DO OUR BEST TO HAVE THEM ANSWERED AT THE MEETING***

BUYOUT OAKWOOD BEACH!!

Great News emerging today, details to follow on the buyout in the coming weeks

Wonderful Organiztion Assisting with Immediate Needs…

Please e-mail StatenIslandRelief@gmail.com to request application form.

Sandy Spurs Call to Buy Up Homes

Many shorefront communities are determined to rebuild after superstorm Sandy. But residents of Staten Island’s Oakwood Beach want to pick up and leave instead.

Homeowners in a four-block portion there are pushing for a federal buyout of their homes. Out of 165 homes in the area, which dates to the 1920s, owners of 106 have signed a petition in favor of a buyout.

"Nobody wants to stay," said Carlos Villalobos, a 63-year-old mailman and Oakwood Beach resident of 15 years. Damage from the Oct. 29 storm remained visible Thursday, with debris still lining the streets and homes shifted off their foundations. "It’s going to happen again. The place is a ghost town."

The neighborhood’s initiative highlights a question that has lingered in the storm’s aftermath: whether coastal communities rocked by Sandy should rebuild at all. The idea of buyouts has recently gained support from state and federal officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his state of the state address this week, proposed a home-buyout program but didn’t specify how it would work.

Jason Andrew for The Wall Street Journal

Oakwood Beach residents at a community meeting Thursday.

"I’ve talked to homeowners who have dealt with serious floods three, four, five times over the past few years," the governor said. "Many of them are saying "I don’t want to have to do it again."

Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican from Staten Island, said various communities on the shore such as Midland Beach and Tottenville have expressed interest in getting buyouts. But Oakwood Beach is perhaps the best candidate because of its location. Under such programs, the land can’t be developed again.

"Literally, it is just surrounded by marshland," he said, referring to the Bluebelt, or Staten Island’s storm-water drainage system, which borders many Oakwood homes. "When you look on a map, you realize instantly this is not an area where people should have been living," he said.

Residents of the community are trying to gain support from local officials for a program paid for mostly by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and run by the state. But state officials can’t act until municipalities make the request, a spokesman for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said.

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New York City has never participated in the program, but after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, about 80 other New York state communities requested that more than 950 properties be acquired, according to the state homeland security division. FEMA covers 75% of the buyouts while the state covers 25%.

The upstate town of Jay, located roughly half an hour from Lake Placid, expects to demolish 19 homes that suffered damage from Hurricane Irene under the program by spring.

"It’s a trying decision for the municipality," said Randy Douglas, town supervisor and chairman of the Essex County board of supervisors. "We’re losing tax base. You worry about losing identity." But he added, "We couldn’t continue to put people in harm’s way."

The program’s history shows that not everyone who signs up to get their home bought out finds it easy to follow through. After a devastating 2010 flood in Nashville, the city received interest from 244 homes deemed eligible for a FEMA buyout, which is voluntary

But 41 homes ended up withdrawing, said Sonia Harvat, spokeswoman for Metro Water Services, the city’s water utility. Some said they had anticipated receiving more money while others decided they had fixed up their homes to the point that they’d stay, she said.

The buyouts, she said, aren’t a cure-all. “We really stressed that these property acquisitions and buyout programs would not make them whole again,” she said. But “some of these property owners were elderly,” she added. “It’s very difficult after an event like the one we had to put your home on the market. This gives them the opportunity to not deal with that type of stress.”

In New York City, talks of buyouts are preliminary. At an Oakwood Beach community meeting Thursday, members of the committee in favor of buyouts cautioned the process could take longer than a year. They also expressed concern about getting Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s support.

"We know that he’s shown himself as being disconnected to the community," said Joe Tirone, a 55-year-old real-estate broker. He cited the mayor’s initial decision to press ahead with the New York City Marathon despite the devastation on Staten Island.

Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for Mr. Bloomberg, said in a statement, “The mayor is committed to working with each community on plans to help them recover and rebuild stronger and more resilient to future climate events.”

She added, “While it’s too early to know if a buyout option makes sense in certain cases, we’ll certainly consider it for those interested.”

Several residents said they were making basic repairs but holding off on major rebuilding in hopes of a buyout. The area remains largely desolate, with most residents living elsewhere. One house had a spray-painted message to deter looters: “House now booby trapped. Welcome.”

The decision to leave won’t be easy. Many homeowners have lived in Oakwood Beach for decades. The neighborhood was a summer retreat for residents until the 1950s, when people started to settle permanently, committee members said.

"I’m a displaced person," said Joseph Szczesny, whose family has owned a home on Fox Beach Avenue, one of the streets where buyouts are being proposed, since 1956. "My heart and my roots are here."

His house is littered with chunks of insulation, and Sandy buckled its floors. He said he rebuilt after a powerful storm in 1992. “I’ve been through it once,” he said. “This is my second time. I can’t do it again.”

A version of this article appeared January 12, 2013, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Sandy Spurs Call To Buy Up Homes.

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