The Smithtown Town Council has begun to take a hard look at properties in the area that could be considered blighted and is working on steps to address them. The initiative spearheaded by town councilmen Robert Creighton, Kevin Malloy and Edward Wehrheim includes a master list of nineteen 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,” said Wehrheim. “We can certainly make it more difficult than we have.”
Though nothing exists on the books today, 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.
List of Blighted Properties:
- Hong’s Market. Smithtown Blvd and Chestnut Street. Abandoned commercial property that has been vacant for many years.
- Hilbert Property. Smithtown Blvd and Gibbs Pond Road. Abandoned commercial property that has been condemned by the building department. It is considered a prominent location due to its proximity to the 9/11 responders park.
- Bavarian Inn- Lake Ronkonkoma. Abandoned commercial property that has been lost to flooding.
- Coffey Property- Townline Road and Southern Blvd. Abandoned residence.
- 24 Locust Street. Abandoned residence, building is near collapse.
- 18 Helen Avenue. House destroyed by fires, structures remain.
- 30 Helen Avenue. House destroyed by fire two years ago, structures remain.
- Haynes/Fairview Holding. Smithtown Railroad Station parking area. Abandoned commercial structure adjacent to railroad tracks.
- 436 Edgewood Avenue- East of River Road. Abandoned residence. Listed owner; Church of the Gospel Ministry.
- 7 Hadley Court. House along the Nissequogue River destroyed by fire. Building department does weekly safety checks.
- Squireview/Breslin. South of Main Street, west of 84 Lumber. Abandoned concrete building in wooded area by railroad tracks. Considered a nuisance property.