New law formally prevents development on Sandy-ravaged land

New law formally prevents development on Sandy-ravaged land

By Rachel Shapiro

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A new law formally prevents any future development on land that was acquired by the state after being ravaged by Hurricane Sandy and other past storms.

Through the state buyout program, NY Rising Housing Recovery Program, houses in Oakwood BeachGraham Beach and Ocean Breeze were acquired after they were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and thanks to legislation from Sen. Andrew Lanza and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, the parcels will never be developed.

The bills passed during Albany's last legislative session and Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed them into law.

The buyout program acquired houses in "enhanced buyout zones" that were substantially damaged during Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Sandy and deemed a high risk of repeated flooding, and preserved the properties as open space.

The buyout program was designed to limit future development, and the legislation codifies the limits to allow for only open space — parks, wetlands management, nature reserves, unpaved parking lots and buffer zones. 

The only structures that can be built on the parcels are public facilities that are open on all sides, including restrooms and flood control structures. Any structures must be flood-proofed or elevated.

"As one of the authors of the New York State Sandy buyout program, which has helped to take Staten Islanders out of harm's way, I want to ensure that future development does not occur which ignores the lessons learned," Lanza (R-Staten Island) said in a statement. "It is for this reason that I am proud to have worked with Assemblywoman Malliotakis on this legislation, which heeds Governor Cuomo's observation that certain lands belong to Mother Nature."

Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn) said in a statement, "Every Staten Islander has a vested interest in what happens to these buyout properties, as its future will have a profound impact on the surrounding infrastructure and community. It's imperative that decades from now, when we're gone, this land is preserved for hazard mitigation, open space, and passive recreation in order to minimize flood risk and maintain the overall quality of life on the Island."

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