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Post-Sandy Buyouts Lead to Complicated Question: Should I Stay or Should I Go?


Taking money and leaving may seem like the obvious move -- but it's not that simple.

This interactive poll is part of an editorial package that includes an article about how Sandy survivors are struggling to get on with their lives.

Sayreville resident Dawn Obel has been holding off on doing repairs, hoping for a buyout so she can leave the neighborhood.
Sayreville resident Dawn Obel has been holding off on doing repairs, hoping for a buyout so she can leave the neighborhood.

In the aftermath of Sandy, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection has earmarked $300 million of federal storm relief money to acquire 1,300 flood-prone properties in tidal areas throughout the state. So far, 138 homeowners in Sayreville and 76 in South River have been accepted into the program, and more will be announced in the coming months.

Governor Christie has stressed that the buyouts are completely voluntary.

“I’m not coming in here and telling people who want to stay that they have to go,” he said last month at a press conference in South River, “But I know there are a lot of people who want to go, and this is their chance to do that.”

To outsiders seeing the extent of the damage caused by Sandy, applying for a buyout might seem like a no-brainer, but for those directly affected, choosing whether to stay or whether to throw in the towel can be an extremely difficult decision, amid a myriad of factors to consider.

To help you understand some of the complexities that might be involved in making such a decision, NJ Spotlight has created an online questionnaire to present some of the pros and cons that people placed in this situation might have to weigh. The specific situations and arguments described are hypothetical, but they’re based on real conversations with actual residents. This questionnaire is for informational purposes only, and is in no way intended to simplify or belittle the life-changing decisions that residents of flood-prone area may need to make. Rather, it’s intended to make people think and challenge their assumptions.

Read the arguments and counter-arguments, cast your vote and leave us your comments to let us know what you think!

Here’s how it works: During the course of this activity, we’ll ask you four times: If your home was severely flooded during Sandy and you were offered a buyout, should you take it? Based on how you answer, we’ll present the opposite point of view for your consideration. Only your final vote will count toward the results of this poll.

Let's get started:

If your home was severely flooded during Sandy and you were offered a buyout, should you take it?

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