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Board votes to demolish zombie homes in Albertson, Westbury

A vacant property located at 21 Foxcroft Rd.

A vacant property located at 21 Foxcroft Rd. in Albertson is one of three "zombie houses" that may soon be razed. The North Hempstead town board voted 7-0 on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, to take the lead to raze the homes, should the owners fail to repair or demolish the properties. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Three long-vacant homes in the Town of North Hempstead may soon be razed, after a unanimous town board decision last week.

The town board voted 7-0 at a Tuesday public hearing to take the lead to demolish the unsafe homes, should the homeowners fail to repair or raze the properties.

Two of the houses are in Westbury; the third is in Albertson. Two have been damaged by fires, and all three have since been boarded up by the town.

Town council member Peter Zuckerman said that the town needed to “take action” and that the zombie homes were “magnets” for dangerous activity.

Representatives for two of the homes attended the hearings and discussed plans for next steps.

Attorney Eric Sheidlower, of Plainview-based Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates PC, was representing JPMorgan Chase, which has a mortgage on the Albertson property on Foxcroft Road. Sheidlower said that the bank was weighing its options and investigating whether the property was “salvageable.”

Town Attorney Elizabeth Botwin said that the town board would “of course prefer if Chase would repair and fix the property,” adding that the home had been a “burden” on the community.

Residents urged the town to take swift action on an issue they’ve been dealing with for years.

Albertson resident Gabriel Polmar noted that neighbors avoid the Albertson zombie house “like the plague.”

“The sooner this gets done, the better off the community will be,” Polmar added.

A zombie house on Third Avenue in Westbury has long been a “source of frustration,” council member Viviana Russell said.

Attorney Sholom Wohlgelernter, of Manhattan-based Blank Rome LLP, said his team was preparing a demolition application for the property.

Representatives did not show up for the third zombie house, on Sheridan Street in Westbury.

In 2016, there were 179 known zombie houses in North Hempstead Town, largely clustered in the villages of Old Westbury and Westbury and the hamlet of New Cassel.

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