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East Hampton seeks court action on overcrowded house

This house, at 17 Ocean Blvd. in East

This house, at 17 Ocean Blvd. in East Hampton, has been cited by the town with 61 alleged code violations. This was the house on Aug. 6, 2015. Photo Credit: Doug Kuntz

A state Supreme Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting access to a portion of a house that East Hampton Town officials recently cited for 61 building code violations and say is "illegally" occupied.

Town ordinance enforcement officials, assisted by the police department and fire marshal's office, executed a search warrant Wednesday at 17 Ocean Blvd. to investigate suspected violations, including overcrowding and change of use or type of occupancy. The company that owns the house -- HCDC Holdings LLC -- is based in Glen Cove. Its officers include Jay Jacobs, the Nassau County Democratic chairman, according to New York secretary of state records.

East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell said Thursday that the town was concerned about unsafe conditions and occupancy limits at the property, which he said houses 25 young adults who are counselors at the Hampton Country Day Camp.

But Jacobs, who described his role with the camp as the largest shareholder and a managing partner, said town officials entered the house without a search warrant and misrepresented the situation at the home, which he said is a "beautiful" place that is only 10 years old.

He acknowledged that camp counselors live in the house and that he agreed to have some people removed from the property. But he said claims about other alleged violations were greatly exaggerated.

"They raided it like it was a crack house," he said. "They wanted to close the whole place down."

Other charges include no smoke alarms, use of a single-family home as a dormitory and failure to keep clean and sanitary conditions.

Doris E. Rosen, 60, of Jericho, and David S. Skolnik, 32, of Plainview, who town officials said represent the company that owns the house, are to appear in Town Justice Court on Aug. 17. Rosen and Skolnik are also counselors at the camp.

Skolnik said Thursday that there have been no complaints about the house from neighbors in the past four years.

"Twenty-five might sound like a lot, but if you see the house and see the layout, everyone is comfortable with the living conditions," he said. "People return year after year and recruit their friends because of the experience."

Rosen could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Cantwell said the house has eight bedrooms, twice the number legally permitted, and that they all have bunk beds.

Jacobs said the use of bunk beds in the house is allowed under state law for a camp setting and that the house is zoned for camp use.

Jacobs, who along with Cantwell was not in court in Riverhead Thursday, said his attorney agreed to hire an engineer or architect to return to court to illustrate that the house is being used appropriately.

Cantwell said Thursday before the judge's ruling that the town wants "an order issued that the house be brought into immediate compliance."

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