Lindenhurst Village obtains order to demolish dilapidated buildings

A longtime eyesore in Lindenhurst Village was demolished on April 17, 2014, after more than a decade of legal wrangling between officials and the homeowner. According to court papers filed by the village, the property -- which sits on a creek leading to the Great South Bay -- has dozens of code violations. (Credit Ed Betz)

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A longtime eyesore in Lindenhurst Village is finally due to be demolished Thursday, after more than a decade of legal wrangling between officials and the homeowner.

The house on South Hickory Street is the most recent example of an unoccupied, dilapidated structure targeted for demolition by a local municipality: this year the Village of Mastic Beach has also gone after such houses.

According to court papers filed by the village, the property -- which sits on a creek leading to the Great South Bay -- has dozens of code violations: its bulkhead is "falling apart"; the boathouse's foundation is "undermined" and the structure is "dangerously leaning to one side"; and the home's roof has an 8-by-9 foot hole in it. In addition, damage from a 2009 fire and superstorm Sandy have not been repaired and the boathouse windows are shattered. The village building inspector and an independent architect deemed the buildings dangerous.

Property owner Edward Parthe, 72, lost an appeal last week in State Supreme Court of a court-ordered demolition of the buildings. Parthe, a retired dockbuilder who bought the property in 1982, denies the village's claims and said all buildings are structurally sound and the shattered windows are "used as vents."

"My family's been in the business for hundreds of years so when I say a building is not going to fall, I know what I'm talking about," said Parthe, who resides in Miller Place and hasn't lived in the house since the 1990s.

Lindenhurst officials said they have fought with Parthe for decades over the upkeep of his property. In 2011, the village obtained a court order to remove a sinking barge and crane from behind the house, as well as oil-soaked wood pilings that were causing hazardous runoff.

"This has been a constant, ongoing battle," said village clerk-treasurer Shawn Cullinane. "At least now, we'll hopefully get some closure."

According to Babylon Town, $24,000 in back taxes are owed on the property. Cullinane said the village is owed $59,000, including back taxes, legal and cleanup fees. The $17,110 cost of demolition plus recent legal fees will also be added.

Parthe said everything is fixable but that he hasn't made repairs because of a neighbor he said physically threatened him on numerous occasions. "In hindsight, I should have sold the property," he said.

Parthe, who said his ancestors were one of the village's founding families, previously was active in local civic associations and attributes that activity to the village "hating" him.

Cullinane called Parthe's assertions "totally absurd."

Michael Calma, 59, Parthe's neighbor, said that in order to entertain outside in the summer, he's had to pour bleach around his property due to the stench from next door. He said the property has become a "dumping ground" for trash and waste.

"After all these years, I can't believe it's finally happening," he said of the demolition. "I think the whole block will have a party when that house comes down."

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