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Smithtown Officials Take New Measures to Tackle Abandoned Homes

Building and Public Safety departments to conduct inspections of 21 abandoned properties to see if they are "unsafe" for potential demolition.

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

littleShamrock July 12, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Cort, if you do call them in, know its done anonymously . They will give you a case number and make sure before you hang up you get the detective assigned to the case name as well. Give the case number to your neighbors so when they call there is a reference and a trail to be blazed! Good luck.
Aloguerc July 12, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I have to say I am very happy they are looking into this. I live a beautiful area in Commack. I have two houses next door to me that are abandoned and at times the grass is very high. One has been this way for 20 years and the other is just a year that the woman who lived there passed away. They both need to be torn down. I wonder when they will start looking on my street! That would be great!
Goddess Particle August 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Hi Court--one of those happens to be my brother's house. He has been disabled for years and often has difficulties doing the everyday things most people take for granted . It would be really big-hearted and neighborly if perhaps a couple of you stopped by and offered a kind word of support or helping hand. A new family moved in a few years ago and the gentleman of the house stopped by to introduce himself. He has a landscaping business and extended an offer to help him maintain his lawn. In turn my brother has helped him with many computer issues. My brother has a good heart. Once one of the neighborhood kids lost her cat, and when he heard about it, he personally designed a photo flyer to be posted and distributed. My late husband and I used to help out as much as we could over there, but I now live in another state. I acknowledge that it is not often a pretty sight and the frustration is understandable, but realize that he faces obstacles in his life that many of you will never have to confront.
John Grisanzio November 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM
I believe that something needs to be done about these houses but if a house is very nice like a nice mansion i saw maybe the town should seize the property and restore the mansion i am thinking of and make it like a westbury gardens type of deal or get people from the neighberhood to put on there gloves and help in cleaning up these properties i would put on my gloves and try to help if needed.
John Grisanzio November 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM
I wont say the address of a house that i wish i could be a part of getting this mansion restored it is so pretty even in the state it is in i just wish i could spark the right person to take an interest and restore this gem of a house.

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