A Mastic Beach couple say they were wrongly evicted from their home after village officials condemned it as uninhabitable.
Donald Polinskie and Jackie Strech said in interviews last week that they have lived at the Dogwood Street home, which Polinskie said he owns, for 19 years. They said they were doing routine housework before leaving the house to run errands on Aug. 28. When they returned two hours later, their home was boarded up.
The couple appeared at the Mastic Beach Village Board meeting last week to protest their eviction. They said they are staying at the home of their son, also a village resident.
Village officials said condemning the home was justified. They said the couple will need a report from a licensed engineer or architect that the house is habitable and has no structural damage before the family will be allowed back in.
"My biggest concern is people will get hurt," said Mastic Beach building inspector Teresa Madarasz. "I'm concerned about anyone being in the home."
She said she and code officers were called to the house when someone noticed a man running electrical wiring from inside the home to power computers in his van, which was parked in the driveway.
Madarasz said officers questioned the man, who told them he was a renter in the house. She said the man gave the officers permission to enter the home.
Polinskie, 66, said the man was a family friend who has occasionally lived at the home for two months. Madarasz said she and the other officers were within their rights to enter the house after being given permission.
According to village officials, once Madarasz and the officers walked into the home they concluded it was uninhabitable.
"There was a rotten smell to the point where I had to leave the structure to not throw up," Madarasz said.
She said floorboards in the home were soft indicating a potential structure failure, there were no smoke detectors, and that they found mold on walls, and exposed wires in a utility room. In addition, a dog in the house was infested with fleas, village officials said.
"The condition of the house was not fit. So we condemned the house as uninhabitable," Madarasz said.
Mayor Maura Spery defended the decision to board up the home, saying it was a public safety threat.