Tag Archives: Zombie Homes

Saladino, Imbroto & Altadonna Announce Strengthened Law to Combat ‘Zombie’ Homes

Town Bans Use of Plywood on Residential Windows and Doors; Require $25,000 Escrow to Ensure Property Maintenance

 

In continuing their pledge to protect and preserve our quality of life in the Town of Oyster Bay, Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Councilman Louis Imbroto and the Town Board unanimously approved a new law to combat ‘zombie’ homes. The new local law strengthens the Town’s authority to: fine property owners and lending institutions in violation of Town Code; recoup costs associated with Town maintenance of vacant properties; and ban the use of plywood in covering residential windows and doors.

 

 

In continuing their pledge to protect and preserve our quality of life in the Town of Oyster Bay, Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Councilman Louis Imbroto and the Town Board unanimously approved a new law to combat ‘zombie’ homes earlier this month. The new local law strengthens the Town’s authority to: fine property owners and lending institutions in violation of Town Code; recoup costs associated with Town maintenance of vacant properties; and ban the use of plywood in covering residential windows and doors. Together with members of the local Breezy Point Civic Association in Massapequa, the Supervisor announced the new law, with Town Quality of Life co-chairs Councilman Louis Imbroto and Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr. They were also joined by Town Councilman Joseph Muscarella and Councilman Thomas P. Hand.

 

“The Town of Oyster Bay strengthened the law to address quality of life concerns caused by dilapidated and vacant homes in our neighborhoods,” said Supervisor Saladino. “Together with residents and civic associations, we are taking back our neighborhoods by cracking down on code violations and holding absentee landlords and lending institutions accountable. We are also removing eyesores in our neighborhoods by banning the use of plywood on windows and doors.”

 

The new Town Code expands on the definitions of what constitutes an abandoned or vacant building, and also requires that any boarding placed on homes be completed with impact-resistant polycarbonate material, in lieu of typically-utilized plywood, to help avoid a community eyesore. The new Code further strengthens the Town’s ability to address adverse conditions often brought on by ‘zombie’ homes, by establishing a mandated trust account to which the foreclosing entity must deposit $25,000 to cover any potential costs the Town could incur from maintaining the property.

 

Councilman Imbroto, Co-Chairman of the Town of Oyster Bay Quality of Life Task Force, stated, “This updated Town Code strengthens the ability of our Code Enforcement Bureau to achieve compliance from property-owners and lending institutions by providing inspectors with more authority to investigate, identify and rectify quality of life concerns caused by vacant and abandoned properties which cause eyesores in our neighborhoods. This is a win-win for our community.”

 

Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr., Co-Chairman of the Town of Oyster Bay Quality of Life Task Force, further stated, “We are proud to work with citizens and civic associations to identify both residential and commercial properties that are impacting the quality of our communities. Together, we are taking back our neighborhoods by addressing code violations and cleaning up dilapidated and abandoned properties.”

 

The new Town Code was advanced by the Quality of Life Task Force to assist its efforts, which focus on code enforcement for concerns such as illegal housing, zombie homes, noise, landscaping, and parking, among other issues.

 

Visit the Town of Oyster Bay website

Locust Valley Zombie Homes Demolished

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Councilman Louis Imbroto and Town Clerk James Altadonna, Jr. commenced demolition at two vacant “zombie” homes in Locust Valley. After inspection, the Department of Planning and Development declared both homes an imminent danger to the safety and welfare of the residents in the surrounding neighborhood. The Saladino administration and Town Quality of Life Task Force are aggressively addressing “zombie” homes through code enforcement and demolition programs designed to rid neighborhoods of such eyesores.

 

Supervisor Saladino stated, “My administration is committed to combating dilapidated and abandoned properties in the Town of Oyster Bay. Through the Quality of Life Task Force, we are restoring local neighborhoods, protecting property values and ensuring public safety in our communities. While Locust Valley neighbors have referred to these actions as A Miracle on Thirteenth Street, this new level of enforcement will no longer be surprising when we enter other communities in the Town.”

 

Following complaints submitted to the Town of Oyster Bay’s Code Enforcement Bureau for lack of maintenance, Town building inspectors visited properties on Thirteenth Street. After clearing several locations of overgrowth, inspectors discovered that two of the homes, numbers 47 and 51, were severely damaged beyond repair. Inspectors determined both homes were structurally unsound. Inspections revealed several openings throughout walls and roofs. In regard to 47 Thirteenth Street, open windows revealed the collapse of ceiling joists onto the first floor. Water damage was seen throughout the entire first floor as evidenced by destroyed sheet rock and exposed insulation that has fallen from the framing cavities. Portions of the sill plate deteriorated to the point where some sections of the vertical framing were no longer attached to the foundation. An addition in the rear of the home was separating from the rest of the house. Additionally, the entire basement was full of water. In regards to 51 Thirteenth Street, water damage was seen throughout the entire rear first floor as evidenced by destroyed sheet rock and exposed insulation. The chimney was falling apart and not properly supported to the home. The detached garage had become dilapidated and the garage roof allowed rain water to enter the structure.

 

“The nationwide foreclosure crisis resulted in a number of abandoned properties throughout Long Island. As time has passed, these abandoned homes have deteriorated due to a lack of regular maintenance and repair,” stated Councilman Imbroto. “The Town of Oyster Bay is aggressively addressing unsafe conditions to protect the well-being of our residents and quality of life in our communities.”

 

Pursuant to Chapter 96 (Dangerous Building), Section 20 (Emergencies) of the Code of the Town of Oyster Bay, the Commissioner of Planning and Development declared both homes Dangerous Buildings, and ordered demolition of the structures.

 

Town Clerk Altadonna, Jr. added, “We are proud to work with citizens and civic associations to identity both residential and commercial properties that are impacting the quality of our communities. Together, we will take back our neighborhoods by addressing code violations and demolishing dilapidated and abandoned properties such as these Locust Valley homes.”

 

Through the creation of the new Town Quality of Life Taskforce, efforts have been made in other communities, such as East Massapequa. Working with residents in that neighborhood, Task Force members have been working diligently to address two abandoned properties on Clocks Boulevard, looking for every mechanism in their power to clean up rid the properties of any blight.

 

The Town’s Quality of Life Task Force continues to work toward combating vacant and dilapidated homes. Through the use of a $350,000 State grant obtained earlier this year, the Task Force is making recommendations to update the Town Code to address the “zombie” home crisis and better hold lending institutions responsible for maintenance and repair of vacant homes.

 

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Hempstead Town Secures State Grant to Combat Zombie Properties and Vacant Buildings

Hempstead Town successfully applied for a grant to fund Supervisor Anthony J. Santino’s aggressive programs to eradicate “zombie homes” and vacant buildings. The Town received a $350,000 grant, along with the Village of Hempstead, to monitor vacant and abandoned houses and to implement programs that ensure banks and property owners pay for the cost of property upkeep. The grants are part of $3.3 million in grants awarded across Long Island by the New York State Attorney General’s office.

 

“This money will help offset the cost to our taxpayers associated with the administration of programs we have implemented to combat ‘zombie’ homes and businesses,” Santino said. “Every property that is vacant or unmaintained affects the value of the homes in our communities. We’re working hard to ensure that banks and property owners are good neighbors and properly maintain their properties.”

 

The Supervisor has recently assembled a multi-pronged plan to deal with “zombie” properties and vacant buildings. Santino has indicated that the grant monies that are received from the State Attorney General’s Office will be used to offset the costs of administering his “zombie” homes program and a vacant building registry.

 

In May of this year the town passed a “zombie” homes law which requires banks that foreclose on houses to remit a $25,000 security payment to the town to ensure the maintenance of the property. In June, a companion plan passed that would force banks and other lenders that foreclose on commercial properties to provide the town with security funding in the amount of $35,000. Most recently, the town approved a law that requires property owners of unoccupied structures to register vacant buildings, produce a vacant building plan, pay security funding to ensure property maintenance and pay an annual registry fee.

 

Upon taking office this year, Supervisor Santino declared “war” on “zombie” homes and businesses, and he is holding banks/owners responsible for the maintenance of the properties.

 

“The funding we will receive will go a long way toward preserving the quality of life our residents expect, and will help hold banks accountable in the maintenance of foreclosed properties,” Santino concluded. “With the vacant building registry, and ‘zombie’ property laws that our town has enacted, we are tackling the zombie issue head on.”

 

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Cleaning Up Zombie Homes: Hempstead Town Proposal

Town Proposal to Make it Easier for Government To Maintain Yards of Abandoned Houses

 

There’s nothing worse for a conscientious homeowner than living next to a “zombie house” that has overgrown grass and weeds, which detracts from the neighborhood and presents a host of other concerns. Under a Hempstead Town proposal put forth by Supervisor Kate Murray, Senior Councilman Anthony Santino, Councilman Gary Hudes and Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, the town will be able to perform ongoing grass and weed trimming at “zombie homes” with less red tape that can delay ongoing property cleanups. The maintenance work would not cost taxpayers any money under the plan.

 

“Having a ‘zombie house’ in the neighborhood that isn’t being maintained places a horrible burden on other homeowners who take pride in their community and care about local properties,” stated Murray. “That’s why we are proposing a local law that would make it easier for the town to trim grass and weeds at ‘zombie homes’ more quickly, especially when the grass cutting is an ongoing maintenance issue. What’s more, the proposal places no financial burden on taxpayers.”

 

The new proposal builds upon a town law that provides for the town performing yard cleanups of abandoned houses and other homes that aren’t being maintained. The existing law requires certified mail, return receipt requested notices to property owners and posting notifications at the site. These stringent requirements are time consuming (sometimes taking several weeks), and must be followed for each cleanup event (repeated offenses) at a neglected property. Waiting for return receipts and processing the information can delay the grass cutting every time a complaint is received. Weeks can pass before a lawn can be cut. The new proposal cuts through the red tape associated with certified/return receipt mail that results in weeks-long waiting periods before the grass and weeds can be trimmed. Under the legislation, recurring violations would result in a posted notice at the property, and there would be a mere 5-day waiting period before the “zombie home” could be cleaned up.

 

“This proposal will cut down on the waiting period during which neighbors have to endure grass and weeds that are knee high,” said Santino. “I am excited to be working on this important measure that will remove blight in our neighborhoods,” added Hudes.

 

“We’re cutting through red tape to help neighbors in dealing with unpleasant conditions that are negatively impacting their neighborhoods and their quality of life,” said Murray. “This initiative is truly important as it impacts every neighborhood and has a direct influence on local community character,” added King Sweeney.

 

The officials noted that overgrown grass and weeds at “zombie homes” present a host of negative consequences for neighbors who live nearby. Beyond the unpleasant aesthetics, overgrown grass can serve as a breeding ground for vermin and insects. Additionally, the unkempt appearance signals that nobody is living at the structure, encouraging squatters to set up residence and vandals to scrawl graffiti on the exterior. Finally, unkempt houses adversely impact local housing values.

 

Murray, Santino, Hudes and King Sweeney observed that there has been an increase in “zombie homes” in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Approaching the third anniversary of the Superstorm, there are still numerous homes on the south shore that are overgrown and in disarray.

 

“We’re working hard to help neighbors who are doing their best to maintain their homes while dealing with offensive looking ‘zombie homes’ that adversely impact otherwise beautiful neighborhoods,” concluded Murray. “I am pleased to propose this new law along with Councilmen Anthony Santino and Gary Hudes and Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, as well as my other colleagues on the Town Board. After all, less red tape and less bureaucracy means grass will get cut quicker and neighbors will be happier.”

 

Visit the Town of Hempstead website