Towns across Long Island are waiving various fees to help ease cleanup efforts and rebuilding restrictions for homeowners dealing with Sandy's aftermath.
Hempstead Town officials announced Thursday that they are waiving for six months home replacement and repair permit fees, which can run up to $2,500. The town will also waive permit fees for temporary housing trailers, commonly used during reconstruction projects, and extend hours at the Merrick sanitation facility's "homeowner area" for people to drop off debris, tree limbs and other rubbish at 1600 Merrick Rd."We want to do everything possible to help residents and accommodate them as they clean up," Town Supervisor Kate Murray said, noting residents are facing the "daunting challenge" of repairing their homes caused by toppled trees and floodwaters.
Donna and Lenny D'Andrea are among those who will benefit from free permits. They have been living in their Levittown home despite a challenging intrusion -- a nearly 50-foot-tall tree that landed in their master bedroom during the storm. A contractor hired by the family said the damage to the four-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot Rose Lane home will likely take $10,000 to $15,000 to repair.
The town's decision to waive permitting fees is "a big help," said Donna D'Andrea, whose home lacks heat, hot water and power because of the storm.
Officials in North Hempstead, Huntington, Babylon and Glen Cove are also waiving building permit fees as part of the storm recovery. Brookhaven is contemplating making the same decision, officials said.
In addition, Glen Cove will not charge permit fees to remove storm-damaged trees. Mayor Ralph Suozzi called the decision a "no-brainer."
While Brookhaven is forgoing fees for storm-related debris and yard waste at the Yaphank landfill and its Manorville compost site through Saturday, Glen Cove and Oyster Bay residents are expected to leave their storm debris at the curb of their properties for municipal pickup, officials said.
The Town of Islip is waiving solid waste collection fees for the next two weeks.
The Town of Riverhead has forgone fees at its landfill and for building permits needed for hurricane-related repairs. Other East End towns such as Shelter Island, East Hampton, Southampton and Southold are temporarily waiving fees for branches, garbage and other storm-related debris, but are reviewing the possibility of waiving fees for building permits needed to repair storm damage.
"Although it [Sandy] shattered windows and crushed roofs, it has only strengthened our resolve," Murray said. "Together we will rebuild our homes."