Mantoloking officials say a borough-wide house demolition program will begin in mid-to-late April and be completed by the end of June.
As of March 18, 39 residents had signed up to have their homes demolished under the program, and between 70 and 80 more had signed up to have their lots cleared of debris where their homes once stood.
Under the Private Property Debris Removal, or PPDR, program, municipalities can undertake a large-scale demolition project as a community. The program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and subject to reimbursements.
Under PPDR, a municipality contracts with a firm to undertake the entire project town-wide, though individual homeowners may still undertake demolition projects on their own.
In Mantoloking, a contract is set to be awarded at a special borough council meeting scheduled for Thursday.
"It's a huge contract, and a lot of houses need to be taken down," said Chris Nelson, Mantoloking's special counsel for storm recovery.
Nelson said Mantoloking will be the first municipality in New Jersey to undertake a full-scale PPDR program.
Neighboring Brick Township is also participating in the program. Brick Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis has said the township will first run a test-case on one lot, then undertake the project as a whole.
Nelson said 39 residents have applied to repopulate their homes in the storm-ravaged town, where a major breach formed an inlet the night Sandy struck.
A pedestrian curfew in the borough has been moved up to 8 p.m. from 6 p.m. given daylight savings time and the change of seasons, though police are still controlling access to all side streets and officers from the Ocean County Sheriff's Department and Ocean County Prosecutor's Office continue to patrol the off-limits beachfront.
Nelson predicted the PPDR program may actually be completed sooner than the end-of-June target.
"My guess is that it will actually [end] in May, but we're going to put a month extra as our target in there," he said.