Facing an uncertain future, Staten Island homeowners whose houses were affected by Hurricane Sandy turned out Saturday for an all-day forum. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
For sale signs have popped up all over Staten Island's East Shore in Hurricane Sandy-damaged neighborhoods, where residents said they would rather move on than rebuild.
Amelia Lindauer said she's not ready to sell her flood-damaged home yet, but the Tottenville resident said the idea has definitely crossed her mind.
"I'm making it home, and it's beautiful again, and that's heartbreaking, because I know that I probably can't stay," she said.
Lindauer's story is not unique, and that's why so many residents affected by the storm turned out Saturday for an all-day forum, sponsored by the Staten Island Board of Realtors.
It was meant to help homeowners figure out what it means to live in a post-Hurricane Sandy Staten Island.
New Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines double the size of the flood zones and require those living there to build their homes at least 13 feet above sea level or face skyrocketing flood insurance premiums.
Slow insurance payouts have left many struggling financially, with homes whose values have dropped considerably because of the storm and its damage.
"I'm happy to be back in my house, but I don't know what's coming next," said Paul Grady, whose home was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. "I don't know what's going to happen next."
Staten Island City Councilman James Oddo said the picture should become a bit clearer in May, when federal hurricane relief money is expected to be released.
"You've waited five months," Oddo said. "Give us another four weeks, and you will have information so you can make an informed decision about elevations, about acquisitions, about rebuilding."
The board of realtors plans to meet with builders, engineers and architects, as well as a group of college of Staten Island professors who have studied the hurricane and its impact.
The group is trying to compile enough information to pen a so-called white paper about what it believes rebuilding should look like.
"People are just trying to figure what their best move is for them," said Sandy Krueger of the Staten Island Board of Realtors.
Krueger said that unfortunately, for most right now, the best plan may be no plan at all.