Meeting in Little Egg Harbor to Discuss Possible Sandy-Impacted Housing Buyouts

Feb 22, 2016

Representatives from New Jersey Future and Rutgers University will give a public information session on the findings and recommendations from a health impact assessment (HIA) that evaluated the effects of potential Mystic Island property buyouts on both individual and municipal health. The meeting is set for Thursday, Feb. 25, at 6:30 p.m. in the Little Egg Harbor Township Justice and Municipal Complex, 655 Radio Rd. It is scheduled an hour before the formal presentation to the governing body during the regular municipal meeting at 7:30 p.m.

The HIA assessed how a Blue Acres buyout program like the one currently in progress in some towns on the Delaware Bay shore and in northern New Jersey could impact residents in Mystic Island along the shoreline. Buyouts with an eye to returning land to natural areas could mitigate future wave and storm surge impacts and help residents who currently are unable to elevate their homes to locate elsewhere. Also studied were the mental health and physical health impacts to residents who survived Superstorm Sandy and the continued stress or fear of another storm. Another part of the study was how these potential buyouts might affect the municipality's tax rates and the viability and vitality of neighborhoods.

David Kutner, planning manager for New Jersey Future in Little Egg Harbor Township and Tuckerton borough, said the information session should be seen as a “what if” scenario, rather than a prophetic one.

“This kind of approach should be in the mix of strategies for the municipality to consider given the future risks,” said Kutner on Friday. “No specific homes have been targeted,” he stressed.

The HIA was completed by the Planning Healthy Communities Initiative at Rutgers University in partnership with New Jersey Future. P.J.

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