A $25,000 newly awarded state grant will help Brookhaven Town officials continue their fight against illegal junkyards along a stretch of Montauk Highway between East Patchogue and North Bellport, officials said.
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine on Monday announced the award of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services grant to continue the effort to remove the operations that he said are more than just eyesores.
“The illegal junkyards along Montauk Highway are not only a detriment to the community, they are a threat to the environment and the health and safety of the residents who live nearby,” Romaine said in a statement. “Town Fire Marshals will be able to strengthen their efforts to clean them up or even close them down.”
Romaine instituted his “Junk Yard” initiative earlier this year to crack down on roughly a dozen automotive-related businesses along the corridor.
About 25 landowners encompassing 33 properties have been issued roughly 200 summonses in the past year for illegally operating junkyards, unauthorized outdoor storage or unpermitted auto body shops, and for having out-of-date certificates of occupancy or violating fire codes, town officials said.
The property owners ultimately appeared in Sixth District Court in Patchogue, and most of them have brought their properties up to code, Brookhaven Deputy Town Attorney David J. Moran said Monday.
Brookhaven, in its effort to crack down on junkyards, also rezoned the corridor to retail and Main Street Business districts earlier this year as part of its Greater Bellport Land Use plan, Moran said.
Officials said the state grant award was the result of a New York State Senate Bill sponsored by state Sen. Thomas Croci (R-Sayville) to help municipalities enforce codes.
Enforcement of both state and local codes are being used to force local businesses and land owners to clean up the properties, town officials said.