Some of the homes in New York City that were damaged by Sandy are beyond repair, authorities have concluded. The city now plans to bulldoze them, The New York Times reports ("New York City Will Demolish Hundreds of Storm-Hit Homes," by William K. Rashbaum).
"About 200 homes will be bulldozed in the coming weeks and months, almost all of them one- and two-family houses on Staten Island, in Queens and Brooklyn," the paper reports. "That is in addition to 200 houses that are already partially or completely burned down, washed away or otherwise damaged; those sites will also be cleared." Beyond that, another 500 homes are still awaiting inspections that could result in death sentences for them as well.
The move is alarming owners of the condemned structures, who may end up on the hook for the cost, the Times reports ("Fear and Anxiety Amid Move to Raze Damaged Homes," by Vivian Yee). Communication from city government has been upsetting, notes the Times: in Breezy Point, for example, where a hundred houses burned to the ground and many more were severely damaged by flooding, "many residents arrived for another day of cleanup and repairs to find a new notice affixed to their front doors, one that announced that they had incurred a building violation for 'failure to maintain building or apparatus.'" It took hours for some frightened residents to determine that the notices were just a formality, and that there would be no adverse consequences.
City Buildings Department spokesman Tony Sclafani told the New York Post that the "violation" notices involve no penalty ("Buildings Dept. doles out 'disgraceful' violations," by David Seifman and Pedro Oliviera Jr.). "These violations are issued by the department as a way to record the conditions at the location," Sclafani explained.
City Councilman Mark Weprin of Queens was not appeased, saying: ""People were upset... They're still waiting for insurance companies to come up, looking for contractors to come out — it would be impossible not to have these violations. The language on these violations were very poorly chosen and scared people. That's adding insult to injury."