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Islip board to rule on Fields' Oakdale rentals

Three years after she was first cited for illegally renting out two Oakdale cottages, Assemb. Ginny Fields will soon hear from Islip's zoning board on whether she can continue to rent them - or must shutter them for good.

The zoning board of appeals, which last month heard Fields' case, could issue its decision as early as Tuesday.

Islip issued notices to Fields in May and June 2007 for two one-story cottages on the same lot as a larger house at 3 East Shore Rd. The cottages did not have rental permits and were not included in the house's certificate of occupancy, as required by town code.

Newsday reported last February that Fields still had not brought the rentals into compliance with town code and had not yet submitted an application to the zoning board of appeals.

She began the application process in March and completed it in December, town officials said, noting that the process took several months because the town required Fields to submit a new survey and a chain of title dating to 1940, when the cottages were built.

The zoning board heard the case on Jan. 26. At issue was whether the cottage structures had been substantially altered and whether they had been vacant for more than a year since they were built.

About a dozen neighbors attended the hearing to register complaints about the rentals and protested when the board's chairman, Richard Scheyer, explained that in such an application, quality-of-life issues are not considered.

Fields and her husband inherited the property in 2005 from a neighbor, Myron van Essendelft, for whom they had cared until his death at age 97, Fields' attorney, Eliot Bloom of Mineola, has said.

Ginny Fields spoke briefly at the hearing, testifying that the cottages had been rented out every summer since she moved to the cul-de-sac in 1971. The Essendelfts told her that they had been occupied every season since they were built, she said. "They were always rented out, always," she said.

But a man who in the 1940s and '50s lived adjacent to the property, at a Montauk Highway address, offered a different story.

Andrew Connor of Roslyn Heights, who testified at the request of the Fields' neighbors, said he was 10 when he moved there in 1941. He described in detail the properties and their occupants during that time.

While one of the cottages saw a parade of seasonal tenants, the other had no plumbing - just a garden hose running from another house - and remained vacant from 1940 and 1955, except for a tenant who stayed just two or three months, he said.

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