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Amityville airs new details for proposed vacancy law

Amityville Village Hall in 2014.

Amityville Village Hall in 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Amityville Village Attorney Richard Handler provided new details Monday on a set of proposed laws intended to help officials crack down on owners of vacant or abandoned buildings.

One law would let the village order or carry out repairs or demolition of unsafe commercial buildings and homes within seven days or less after the village board orders repairs, tightening existing legislation that mandates a longer wait, Handler said at Monday’s board meeting. The new law also reduces grounds for challenges by introducing a quantitative definition for “unsafe.” Handler said that definition is when 33 percent or more of the building’s load-bearing structural components, or 50 percent or more of walls or roof were damaged.

The law would also give officials grounds to move aggressively if they find equipment like boilers and heaters in hazardous disrepair.

A companion law would require registration of buildings vacant for 120 days or more, including contact information for owners. Amityville’s law, which is based on Brookhaven Town legislation, would carry a yearly $250 registration fee and may include an exemption for part-time residents who leave a caretaker in charge while they are away.

The two laws are scheduled for public hearing on May 13. A third law, requiring notification of mortgage foreclosure, will likely receive a hearing in June, officials said.

The laws would require action for about 40 of Amityville’s 3,300 homes. “These are anomalies,” Bay Village Civic Association president Joan Donnison said. “Driving around the village, it’s amazing to see how we have come back after Sandy and to see the amount of money that people are pouring into their homes.”

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