The Buildings Department says it will raze around 200 homes that were damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Sandy in the neighborhoods that suffered the most devastation, including Breezy Point, Rockaway Beach, and Midland Beach. The Times reports that the demolitions, which will occur in the coming weeks and months, are the result of the inspection of more than 80,000 buildings affected by the storm.

The department's commissioner, Robert LiMandri, acknowledged the delicate task of demolishing the unsafe homes, some of which have been passed down several generations, in tight-knit, blue collar neighborhoods. "When you walk around in these communities, people are scared and worried, and we’re trying to make every effort to be up front and share with them what they need to do," LiMandri said.

“Listen, we want public safety, and we have to move on, but you have to give some people—” Mr. LiMandri said, pausing, then adding: “I mean, look, a lot of these are people’s homes that, probably, they may have even grown up in it, and it was their father’s house. I mean, that’s the kind of communities we’re talking about.”

While the DOB is attempting to contact displaced homeowners to notify them of the fate of their homes, the agency indicated that in cases where "danger is imminent," the homes will be demolished without notification. "This is absolutely disgraceful!” State Senator Tony Avella of Queens told the Post. “For the city to be going around issuing these notices and violations while people still have trees on their houses—most people are just in shock.”

Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who represents Breezy Point and other hard-hit neighborhoods, also told the Times that he had not been notified of the DOB's plans. “My constituents have been through so much, and they are just so distraught, and if that were to happen and if they were told that the home that they grew up in or they bought has to be taken against their will, it’s just devastating news,” he said.

Traditionally, property owners foot the bill for the demolition. After Hurricane Katrina, more than 6,200 properties were ordered razed. FEMA paid for $30 million of the effort, but six years after Katrina there were nearly 900 homes that still needed to be demolished.

The 200 homes that will be demolished in New York are in addition to the nearly 200 buildings that burned down or completely washed away by flood waters. Many of the 900 or so structures that received "red tags" from the DOB can be repaired and made safe again.