The Smithtown Town Council has begun to take a hard look at properties in the area that could be . The initiative spearheaded by town councilmen Robert Creighton, Kevin Malloy and Edward Wehrheim includes a master list of 19 properties that could be considered blighted in Smithtown. It has not yet been determined if the properties on the list are blighted and the list may still grow.
Wehrheim, at the Kings Park Civic Association meeting last week, said blighted homes were a problem and that more has do be done to address them.
“We are getting tougher on the problem. We are taking a hard line if you are not going forward with the property,” he said. “We can certainly make it more difficult than we have.”
Though nothing exists on the books yet, the town would like to put something in place that would give them the ability to address these properties.
“The town is thinking of a blight ordinance, which is beyond a property maintenance ordinance,” said Frank DeRubeis, director of planning for the town of Smithtown. “We can write it. The hard part is deciding how you can implement it. When it comes to property we have to be careful. We can do something when there is a clear public problem.
DeRubeis said other towns have developed a point system by scoring a site. If it falls below the said score the town takes steps to remove the blighted property.
“Blight impacts property value and can undermine property values of a community and is a legitimate thing for communities to attack.
Two attorneys, whom Wehrheim describes as tough, have been put into place to help tackle the problem. “We are laying down maximum fines. We don’t have to negotiate a $5,000 fine down to $3,000.”
“It is a good sign that the town is willing to make a list like this,” said Kings Park Civic Association President Sean Lehman.
Properties in Commack that could be considered blighted but have not yet been determined include:
1131 Jericho Turnpike. Abandoned commercially zoned structure.
Burr/MacDowell gas station. Southeast corner of Jericho Turnpike and Veteran’s Highway. Abandoned repair garage at entrance to township.
2104 Jericho Turnpike. Abandoned filling station. Hess proposed a zone change in 2007, but the lot is still vacant.
Amoco station. Abandoned filling station. Shares site with Commack Car Wash.
Read related stories of other town properties that could be considered blighted in , Hauppauge and Smithtown.