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July 27, 1999

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-5371)

New York City And Delaware County Make First Acquisition Under Flood Buyout Program

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Delaware County provided a report today on the status of property acquisitions under the Delaware County Flood Buyout Program. The Program is a cooperative effort between the City, Delaware County, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in which the owners of homes damaged by the destructive floods of January 1996 will sell their property to the City at pre-flood values.

The City and Delaware County have entered into contracts to purchase a total of 28 homes. Twenty seven of the parcels are located in the Town of Middletown — 21 in the Village of Margaretville, two in the Village of Fleischmanns, three in Arkville and one in Clovesville. Another property is in the Town of Roxbury. Seven closings are scheduled to take place on August 10th & 11th; one closing took place in July; and the remainder are expected to occur within the next several months.

"The Flood Buyout Program is another excellent example of partnership between City and County government resulting from the Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)," said DEP Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E. "Once again, the City and County have worked together to accomplish a goal that is beneficial to both Delaware County and the City. Through this program, the City will be able to promote long-term water quality protection, while giving relief to County residents who suffered from the devastating January 1996 floods. I am very proud of the hard work exhibited by the staffs of DEP and the Delaware County Department of Planning and Economic Development which made this complex program a reality."

Once acquired, all structures on the properties will be removed by the County, and the parcels will be maintained in a natural state to reduce future flood damage and protect water quality. The Flood Buyout Program is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the City and the County in September, 1997, which lays out the responsibilities of both parties. FEMA has reserved $2 million under its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to pay for 75 percent of the cost to purchase the homes. The City, with funds committed for land acquisition under the Watershed Memorandum of Agreement, will pay for most of the 25 percent local match required under federal regulations.

The total acreage involved amounts to about 16 acres. Future management of these sites, which are subject to certain federal restrictions, will be overseen by the staff of DEP's Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program, which is committed to allowing recreational uses that are compatible with water quality protection and public safety.

"We at DEP are pleased to play a role in FEMA's efforts to improve the lives of those who have been affected by floods," said Commissioner Miele, "and we recognize that all parties in this program are winners. We are also aware of the impact that these new open spaces will have on the communities in which they lie. DEP is actively seeking partners to help maintain these areas, and is open to proposals for appropriate uses."

Title to the flood buyout properties will be held by the City, which will pay taxes based on the land value of each parcel. Immediately upon acquisition, the County will be responsible for demolition and removal of all structures and other debris in accordance with a demolition plan developed for each parcel in conjunction with the City. All materials will be removed to a DEC-approved landfill or burn site and the property will be carefully graded and seeded.


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