Gov. Chris Christie has announced plans to use $300 million in federal funding to buy out homeowners whose properties have flooded repeatedly, especially during Hurricane Sandy.
The governor announced the buyout plan Thursday, just before appearing in Sayreville, where about 270 homes were destroyed or severely damaged by a tidal surge during Sandy.
Some of those homeowners have expressed a willingness to sell.
The buyout program will begin in July with about 300 eligible properties in Sayreville and neighboring South River. Eventually, 1,000 homes will be bought.
The state will raze homes that are bought and preserve the land as wetlands.
Sayreville is one of the communities frequently mentioned as a good candidate for the buyouts.
At a town hall meeting at a school in Sayreville Thursday afternoon, Christie's announcement that the buyouts would begin in the borough was met with a standing ovation from residents.
"They're out of money and they have to finally say we can't stay here anymore," said Sayreville Mayor Kennedy O'Brien. "Its time for us to go."
Christie said the first closings were expected by Labor Day and that all of the closings would be completed by next spring.
Several homeowners in Sayreville said Thursday night that they would be willing to sell their homes because of the area's persistent flooding.
"I already filled out for the buyout," said Jen Rogers.