The state’s Blue Acres program has expanded into Atlantic County, deeming 25 Pleasantville properties eligible for the buyouts.

Purchased structures would be demolished and the land converted into open space to serve as natural flood buffers, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

The properties are in the area around the Yacht Club on East Edgewater and Bayview avenues, where bay water frequently floods yards and streets, said DEP spokesman Larry Hajna.

DEP recently held a meeting with eligible property owners in Pleasantville. Appraisals are being done and DEP is hoping to make offers this Fall, Hajna said.

The Blue Acres program, started shortly after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, is now active in nine counties and has funding to purchase 981 homes.

To date, the program has closed on the purchases of 648 properties and has completed 531 demolitions, according to DEP. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have provided the bulk of the funding.

In addition to Pleasantville, the program is active in Downe and Lawrence townships in Cumberland County; New Milford, Bergen County; Newark, Essex County; East Brunswick, Old Bridge, Sayreville, South River and Woodbridge, Middlesex County; Pompton Lakes, Passaic County; Ocean and Keansburg, Monmouth County; Manville, Somerset County; and Linden and Rahway, Union County.

DEP requires willing sellers in clusters of homes or entire neighborhoods in order to participate in the program. For more information, call 609-984-0500 or visit state.nj.us/dep/greenacres/blue_flood_ac.html.

Contact: 609-272-7219 mpost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost Facebook.com/EnvironmentSouthJersey

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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