NYC to demolish damaged homes from Sandy - New York News

NYC to demolish damaged homes from Sandy

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City officials say about 200 homes will be demolished in the next few days and almost all of them one- and two-family houses on Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn.  

Those homes are in addition to 200 houses that are already partially or completely burned down, washed away or otherwise damaged; those sites will also be cleared. 

The NYC Buildings Department says it's still inspecting nearly 500 other damaged structures and some of those could also be demolished. 

"We've never had this scale before," said NYC Building Dept. Commissioner, Robert L. LiMandri. "This is what New Yorkers have read about in many other places and have never seen, so it is definitely unprecedented. And by the same token, when you walk around in these communities, people are scared and worried, and we're trying to make every effort to be up front and share with them what they need to do."

Officials said no decisions have been made about rebuilding in the storm-battered areas - a situation that would involve not only homeowners, but also insurers and officials in the state, local and federal governments. Some of the houses that are being torn down were built more than a half-century ago as summer bungalows, then winterized and expanded. Current building codes would likely prohibit reconstruction of similar homes.  

The Buildings Department expects to have a more precise assessment by early this week of how many buildings must be razed. Officials say they have a challenge reaching owners of the homes facing demolition. Many of them are now living elsewhere, either with friends, family, in hotels or shelters and are barred from entering the houses because they are unsafe. 

The damaged houses in neighborhoods like Breezy Point, Belle Harbor and Rockaway Beach in Queens, South Beach, Midland Beach and Fox Beach on Staten Island and Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn all have two things in common -- they were older homes, and they were close to the water.

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