NYC Neighborhood Hit Hard by Superstorm Sandy Would Rather Sell Than Rebuild

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"New Jersey seems to be going for the 'rebuild stronger and more resilient' way, those are the two buzzwords they're using, to elevate the houses and reinforce the need for beach nourishment projects and beach management in general that makes ... it more difficult to submerge shoreline," said Stewart Farrell, director of the Coastal Research Center at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey.

Farrell said that both approaches, from rebuilding in New Jersey to razing homes in Staten Island, could work if done right.

"Either situation is successful," he said. "They're both viable solutions."

"[Staten Island] did get heavily, heavily damaged, and that doesn't say that it couldn't rebuild smarter with barriers or levees installed, or somehow raise everything up substantially, but that it is an expense somebody has to bear. So the fact that 90 percent agreed to a buyout says they had seen the writing on the wall," Farrell said.

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