Nine families who have resisted efforts to be removed from the Syosset Mobile Home Park remained there Sunday, even as the first of a new round of eviction notices was served.
"I was upset they gave this to us on 9/11," said Theresa Walch, 52, who received the notice on Friday. Walch, an accountant who moved to the mobile home park on Jericho Turnpike in 1999, said the Nassau County sheriff's department served her 18-year-old daughter as she was walking out the door to go to high school.
The notices have been expected since a July court ruling that said residents could be served, clearing the way for possible development. The warrant for Walch was signed by Nassau District Judge Douglas Lerose and dated Aug. 17.
"I have no money to move," she said. Walch said she will save as much money as she can so that if the 90-day eviction is carried out, she can find a place for her 20-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy, and her daughter, but said they may end up with her father while she lives in a recreational vehicle.
In an emailed statement, Jeffrey Miller, an attorney for the park's owner, STP Associates, said the evictions were authorized by the court and came after the residents "lost multiple litigations and appeals over the last several years challenging nearly every aspect of their eviction." He said the timing of the notices' service was up to the sheriff's department.
Some of the dwindling numbers of residents had signed agreements to leave and can get $5,000 if they vacate by Saturday. Residents say originally there were about 200 residents.
"I will never sign," said Walch, who said she believes she was targeted for speaking out publicly about their plight at Oyster Bay town board meetings.
Another resident, Susan Stonestreet, 61, signed an agreement and is trying to find a new home after 20 years in the mobile home park.
"I'm looking for a place but it's not easy," Stonestreet said. She said the lowest rents for apartments are two or three times as much as the roughly $550 a month residents pay for their land. Like other mobile homeowners interviewed, she said she expects to get nothing for the mobile home she's spent thousands of dollars on over the years.
Her husband died two months ago of cancer and she said that after eight years of legal battles and uncertainty she just can't fight anymore.
"I want to get settled," Stonestreet said. "I can't live like this anymore."