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Saratoga County

FEMA to buyout Ulster County properties damaged by Irene, Lee

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Albany/HV: FEMA to buyout Ulster County properties damaged by Irene, Lee
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The Federal Emergency Management Agency announces a plan to acquire some properties in Ulster County that have been severely damaged by flood waters from Hurricane Irene and the remnants of Lee. YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more the lengthy buyout program that is now making progress.

KERHONKSON, N.Y. -- “There is a lot of vacant homes here unfortunately,” said Kerhonkson resident Wayne Depew.

It’s been over a year since Wayne Depew’s neighbors were forced out of their Carlo Street homes due to severe damage from Irene and Lee. And now FEMA could be stepping in to pick up the pieces.

“FEMA announced a program where they would allow for acquisitions of substantially damaged homes,” said Ulster County Emergency Management Director Art Snyder.

The organization is going to buy up to 33 properties throughout the county and the homes in Depew's Kerhonkson development made the cut.

“There were actually some people that tried to stay and tried to rebuild, but of course, because of the money, they couldn’t afford it,” said Depew.

And now many are willing to sell. Snyder says about 60 perspective homeowners from towns of Wawarsing, Kingston, Olive, Shandaken and Ulster applied for the program back in February.

“We’re still waiting on confirmation on which homes they have approved. We don’t have that list yet,” said Snyder.

If a property is acquired, a home has to be demolished and the property can never be built on again. The site with then be grated and seeded and will be maintained as open space under municipal ownership.

“This is great news for these residents that they can get on with their lives,” said Town of Wawarsing Supervisor Scott Carlsen.

And for Depew, he’s happy his former neighbors may finally receive some long awaited closure.

“For the people who are down here, it’s going to be a welcomed thing for them because they were stuck,” said Depew.

Snyder says the county’s been notified of a grant recommendation to update their mitigation plan. He says when it was put together in 2007 only 12 of 24 municipalities participated. He’s hoping more will join in this time around.

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