Brookhaven Town wants the Ridge Motel East gone for good.
The abandoned motel, which is owned by Suffolk County, is dilapidated and home to squatters, town officials say. They and civic leaders say they have been asking the county for the past year to knock down the building.
“We’ve been trying to get the motel torn down. The county owns it and can do with it what it wants. They should tear down this eyesore,” Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said in an interview. “If they ask us to do it and reimburse us, we’ll do it. We’re waiting for the county to do the right thing.”
Romaine’s comments followed letters sent to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s office by the Ridge Civic Association, and one sent by Brookhaven on Nov. 23.
Suffolk officials said they took control of the property through a tax default on Feb. 26, 2015.
However, officials said, county code allowed the unidentified property owner to file a redemption application and a hardship application to pay the back taxes and keep the title to the property. The hardship application is under review by the county.
County officials said the former owner is willing to sell the property and said someone wanted to purchase it.
“We have to follow our procedures,” county spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter said in an interview. “First and foremost, we want to collect the taxes.”
Brookhaven condemned the property along Route 25 in Ridge in 2010, and it has since become a haven for squatters, according to town officials.
“Over a year ago, the owner passed away and the heirs who inherited the land . . . did nothing to improve the property or pay the taxes,” Romaine recently wrote in the letter to Bellone and Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue).
Town officials said the building has created a hardship for nearby residents and business owners.
“We ask that you move forward with deliberate speed to remove the structure and return the land to its natural state,” Romaine said in the letter.
The four-acre parcel is located in the pine barrens core adjacent to Brookhaven State Park and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation preserved property.
Lee Brooks, president of the Ridge Civic Association, said the motel has been vacant for at least a decade.
“We’re totally at a loss as to why the county hasn’t taken it down,” she said. “The whole building in general is a fire hazard.”
Town officials said the county had repeatedly given the owner, before the county took it over for nonpayment of taxes, multiple extensions to pay taxes on the property.
“Non-action by the county has made a bad situation much worse and the only solution is to demolish this building and clean up the property,” town councilwoman Jane Bonner said in a statement. “I . . . will keep the pressure on the county until they knock down this eyesore.”