Westwood officials voted to purchase a fourth flood-prone home with grant money during their council meeting Tuesday.
The borough closed on three other flood-prone homes using grant money from FEMA and the Department of Environmental Protection last month. The first three houses cost about $1.1 million of the approximately $2 million in grants the borough received.
The next house the borough will purchase is 23 Nugent Place. The home was appraised in the mid $400,000s, but the exact price to be paid has not yet been determined, according to Borough Administrator Robert Hoffmann. FEMA's formula, which subtracts some money previously paid for repairs, will have to be applied before the final price is set, he said.
Officials said they expected the process to be faster this time than with the first three homes because much of the work has already been done, though they noted FEMA's regulations have changed repeatedly.
Hoffmann also said that there may be enough money left for another purchase after this one, though the borough is also using the grants for expenses involved in the buyout process. So far, about $64,000 in grant money has been spent on various costs to meet FEMA's requirements, he said.
The purchased homes will be demolished, but FEMA requires a variety of actions be taken beforehand, including for utilities to remove their connections to the sites. Once the homes are demolished, the land will remain open space and not be built on again.
So far, no date has been set for the start of the demolition of any of the houses. In the meantime, firefighters have been using them for drills.