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Smithtown officials vote to clean up Kings Park resident's clutter
Smithtown Town officials voted Tuesday to clean the property of a Kings Park man who they say hoards garbage, yard waste and junked vehicles outside his home, which violate the town’s code on property maintenance.
At Tuesday’s town board meeting, town attorney John Zollo said the town received an email from property owner Charles Ritchie, 60, asking for adjournment of the public hearing for 30 days.
The email was sent about two hours before the hearing, said Zollo, who recommended that the board continue with the hearing — Ritchie did not attend — but wait to adopt a resolution to clean the property until the next board meeting to allow Ritchie time to address the problem.
But assistant town attorney Martin Simon said that Ritchie had been served with several summonses concerning the condition of his property, located at 21 Heather Dr., over “the last few years.”
“Not once has he come to court to answer those summonses,” Martin said. “And as of today we have two active warrants for his arrest that are outstanding.”
Three residents spoke on the matter, urging the town to act quickly and listing concerns ranging from fire hazards to an influx of rats.
Irene Highbloom, who has lived across the street for 33 years, said she was not impressed with the board’s decision.
“I think that just getting him to clean up the property or having somebody clean it up for him ... is not the answer,” she said. “Even if it’s cleaned, in a short while it’s going to get back to the old way again ...”
The town will assess the cost, prepare a judgment and file it against the property after it is cleaned, Zollo said.
Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said he expects that the exterior of the home will be cleaned by the end of the month.
Ritchie’s next-door neighbor Corlyn Nedwick said she wants to be notified of that day, adding, “I’m optimistic that this will be a new beginning.”