Judy Cartwright writes the Community Watchdog column
More than 40 houses have backyards bordering three sides of a former military base, the Bellmore Logistics Facility. The 17-acre property was vacated many years ago and neighbors have watched and waited as its future has been discussed.
But their patience has evaporated when it comes to the condition of the property:
Large mounds of dirt deposited on the site have generated dust.
The chain-link fence on the property's fourth side, on Maple Avenue, is in tatters.
Vegetation along the perimeter -- the type unaffectionately known as weed trees -- is so tall and thick it blocks sunlight from adjacent backyards.
Residents remember the facility, commonly known as the Bellmore Army base, for the years it was a good neighbor: The site was attractive and well-maintained, and the staff were friendly and courteous. Nancy and Santo DeFiglia recall when the base was used in the early 1990s for Desert Storm troop deployment.
In contrast, today the site is "really awful," Nancy DeFiglia said. "The only thing they do is mow once in awhile" and the mounds of dirt mean her yard is always filthy. The fence on Maple Avenue is "ugly and bedraggled," she said, "quite a big eyesore."
And a tree that had been leaning on the perimeter fence behind their house was leaning at a more threatening angle after superstorm Sandy.
Watchdog asked Hempstead Town whether the conditions violate provisions of town code. Indeed, some do.
The town's Building and Sanitation Departments visited the site in mid-October and issued notices of violation, town spokesman Michael Deery said, but the storm delayed resolution. Inspectors returned early this month and issued a new notice of violation for the leaning tree and fence plus Jan. 22 court appearance tickets for the already-cited violations: trailers on the property and outside storage of debris and dirt.
As for the trees that block sunlight: That's "an issue that's between private property owners," Deery said, similar to trees in one homeowner's yard blocking sunlight to another.
And the ugly fence? It may be unsightly, but it appears to be structurally sound, he said. As such, it's not in violation.
The neighbors continue to wait to see what will become of the property. The current plan, according to a marketing website, says developer Kabro Associates will build 79 homes to be known as The Preserve at North Bellmore.
No one from Kabro responded to three telephone requests for updates about the property. The developer has filed for site plan approval, Deery said, but has not built the required roadway into the property or posted a $500,000 bond to ensure its completion.
QUESTIONS, AND ANSWERS, OVER NASSAU'S PERMIT FEE FOR ALARM SYSTEM
The experience of Antoinette Glacken, who has asked Nassau County to exempt senior citizens from the fee for a home security alarm, prompted questions from several readers.Mrs. Glacken, whose experience was featured here two weeks ago, learned that the county requires a permit for a home alarm when hers sent a false alarm last year; she was notified that she owed a fine plus $100 for a two-year permit. And several weeks ago she learned that police will not respond to an alarm from her home unless she gets a permit.
Here are some of the questions, with responses from Thomas Krumpter, first deputy commissioner for the Nassau Police Department:
If police have put a property into No Response Mode because an alarm has sounded too often or the permit fee hasn't been paid, how can a resident get removed from that list?Owners must pay a new application fee ($100), Krumpter said, plus any penalties that have been levied.
Is a security alarm company responsible for notifying customers that a permit is required? Yes, he said, the law requires the alarm system installer to submit the permit application and fees to the police department on behalf of the customer. Mrs. Glacken's security alarm predated the county's permit requirement and her alarm company credited her account for last year's $100 fine.
Does the county notify residents when their two-year alarm permits expire? One reader said he hadn't received a reminder in years and feared the county had discontinued sending them out.
The county does continue to notify permit holders, Krumpter said.
Renewal notices are mailed out two months before their expiration date, he said. In addition, a "courtesy follow-up letter" has been sent to all locations with expired permits from 2005 to 2011, he said. Those letters permit residents to renew without penalty.