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

Yes. But have you considered...

Let’s say you grew up in this neighborhood and have lived here all your life. Your parents settled here after emigrating from Poland, and your father built the house by hand, using local stones and lumber. All your siblings and extended family members live within a three block radius. You have three kids who attend the local elementary school, and the school system is above average for the area. It would be tough at their age moving them away from their friends. It’s also just ten minutes away from your office. Your spouse can’t imagine leaving.

You live in a safe, friendly, tight-knit community where everyone knows and watches after each other, and you’ve got a ton of great memories spanning nearly forty years. There are block parties in the summer, and people help shovel out their elderly neighbors during winter snow storms. Your neighbors regularly invite you over for dinner or coffee, and they sit on their front porches for hours when the weather is nice, chatting with friends who live on the street and dishing all the local gossip.

Sandy hit your neighborhood heard, but people banded together to help each other out, and you can’t imagine too many places where there’d be this sort of incredible camaraderie.

Besides, after living here for decades, where would you go?

No. But have you considered...

Governor Christie has said the state will focus on acquiring entire blocks or sections of neighborhoods rather than individual homes. If a group of people on your street wants to leave, you and other holdouts might jeopardize their chance of being considered for a buyout if there’s not enough neighborhood consensus.

Suppose a bunch of your neighbors are offered a buyout, and you decide to stay. You’ll be one of the few people left in what will become a ghost town. Without as much density, city services could suffer, and crime could increase with less people around to watch after each other. There will be no more block parties or neighborhood barbeques, and it could be quite lonely at times. If another big storm came along, you’d be on your own. All the neighbors who pitched in and helped after Sandy, shoveling out each other’s basements and providing moral support would now be gone.

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

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