Smithtown Council Looks to Address Blighted Properties

Four properties in Commack included in a master list of properties that could be considered blighted.

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.

Nancy June 04, 2011 at 05:28 AM
You have to really consider what eminent domain to seize property is for. It is to be used when paving the way for a new road etc not to be used to seize private property from individuals jusy because you don't like what it looks like. This is a very slippery slope in which the government can just seize your property at will. Nobody likes looking at the buildings but I feel that I will look at them and preserve theirs and my freedoms.
Greg Martinez June 04, 2011 at 02:12 PM
Rather than the Town using eminent domain (taking the property) for reasons of eliminating blight (which I think is constitutionally questionable), why not find a way to make the property owner maintain or clear the property. For example a point system of violations and allowing a time period for the owner to fix the problem (perhaps 90 days or 4 months). If the property owner fails to act the town could then clear the property and give the bill to the property owner (which could be enforced through the courts, if necessary).
Carol June 13, 2011 at 05:30 PM
The property at 58 Wyandanch Blvd. (corner of Shirley Ct.) Has been rundown foryears. Someone, probably owner, seems to be living in a trailer on the property. A neighbor noticed LIPA connecting electric line to trailer. There's garbage all over, which likely poses a health problem also. Neighbors have tried in the past to get the town to help, but have had no success. It is hurting home values in the area. Please have this location checked out. Thank you, Carol Geissler
Dan November 23, 2011 at 02:34 PM
The building and property on Vets Hwy opposite the post office, where they sell propane and Christmas trees, is also an eyesore. The building looks like it should be torn down and the property is being used as a dump. Old tires, trucks, trailers, construction debris, etc. and recently neighbors have noticed rats in the area.
Barbara January 09, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Sue, Clean it all up or fine the property owners. Value of houses has come down as it is. We don't need all this mess. Also, what about one and two boats on the side of the house plus sometimes jet ski's. That also looks terrible in our neigborhoods!!!


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