By Nolan Piccola
The Huntington Town Board is considering changes to town laws governing blighted properties.
A first proposed regulation would amend town code to include a provision than any blighted property deemed “unsafe and damaged” will be demolished. As per the existing code, the costs for such work would be “assessed against the land or the person responsible.”
The second proposal would make it so any parties with financial stake in such properties will be officially notified by the town. A lis pendens, and notice of proceeding, would also be filed with the Suffolk County Clerk’s office.
The resolution would enable the town to retain the use of an outside engineering firm to consult on the matter in tandem with a town appointed code officer to evaluate the properties. The town attorney’s office would then synthesize this information into a comprehensive report and present their findings to the board, or an appointed hearing officer during a public hearing.
Public hearings on the proposed amendments have been slated for 2 p.m. on Aug. 16 at town hall.
Councilwoman Susan Berland, who penned both proposals, said “the town’s blight program is intended to hold owners accountable for their violations.”
“These new code amendments will provide for the demolition of ‘blighted properties.’ They will continue to bring relief to surrounding properties and neighborhoods and further protect the health and well-being of our residents,” she added.
The proposals come on the heels of a newly established set of state laws passed at last month’s close of the legislation session. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that would expedite the foreclosure process, creating a registry of so-called “zombie” homes and mandating banks and mortgage servicers to maintain such abandoned homes before foreclosure.
During the July 12 town board meeting, Brian McDonald reported a Dix Hills home at 266 Pine Acres Blvd. that he said has been abandoned for 10 years.
“It’s boarded up, overgrown, it’s been a dumping ground for all kinds of scandalous people,” he said.
Berland said that each case is handled differently and asked McDonald to explain the case to a representative at the town attorney’s office.