Town of Smithtown officials agreed Tuesday that its necessary for them to take action on abandoned properties in the area.
Town officials have been working since last year .
Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said residents' phone calls alerted him to the need to take more immediate action in dealing with these blighted properties.
"In pretty quick succession, I had an email from a lady complaining about an abandoned house with a pool that has mosquitos and rats followed by complaints about a burned out building," Vecchio said.
Town officials agreed to have Smithtown Building and Public Safety employees head out to inspect, and in some cases re-inspect, 21 abandoned properties to decide whether or not they can be deemed unsafe under town code over the next two to three weeks.
“Builiding officials have been directed by the town board to determine if each meets criteria under the code that makes them unsafe. If it does, the owner or bank that has the property will be notified to make the repairs to make it safe,” said town supervisor Patrick Vecchio.
The town began to take action back in June of last year, According to the supervisor, that list has grown as the town now has a list of 21 properties in a state of disrepair.
Residents have has long-standing complaints on such properties as the Hightower homes in Kings Park. . In the letter, the KPCA, said "these partially constructed homes do not have a certificate of occupancy, do not meet current building codes, and have been sitting vacant for a number of years."
Smithtown's Building Department inspectors have previously inspected Hightower Homes and said they were not unsafe.
“We have had a mixed reaction to this point and were at odds with the building departement who said many were not a safety violation,” said town councilman Bob Creighton.
Some of the properties on the blighted property list had been referred to public safety, who issued summons to the properties owners as they saw fit, according Vecchio. But this action did not always produce in the desired results.
“Now the building department has had a change of heart as there are other factors involved. That will make it much easier now to start the proceedings,” Creighton said.
According to Vecchio, the town will go about the process of labeling properties it unsafe only if the owners fail to do the necessary repairs.
“If you owned a house we determine to be unsafe, we have to give you the opportunity to make the repairs. If you didn’t make the repairs, we would have a public hearing,” Vecchio said.
Depending on the result of the public hearing, structures on properties labeled unsafe could be demolished by the town.
“When the town incurs a cost to do this, the cost of that repair or demolishment will be put as a tax lein against the property. The county then collects it in the taxes or leins on the property. If those leins are not paid over a certain period of time, the county takes the property."
In the case of the Hightower homes, having been found guilty of committing bank and wire fraud.
Vecchio said the 21 properties on the list to be inspected are largely foreclosures.
"Now we can look at public nuisacnce and other thigs in the code that will make it easier for us to act," said Creighton.
Below is a partial list of properties that the town will look at.
- 77 and 81 West Main St., Kings Park
- 7 Hadley Drive, Smithtown
- 310 Smithtown Boulevard, Nesconset
- 436 Edgewood Ave., Smithtown
- 24 Locust St., Nesconset
- 1131 Jericho Turnpike, Commack
- 299 Southern Boulevard, Nesconset