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Town issues 215 violations in code crackdown in Hampton Bays

Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, left, and Town Code

Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, left, and Town Code Compliance and Emergency Management Administrator Steven Troyd discuss the code enforcement sweep in Hampton Bays during a news conference at Town Hall on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. Credit: Heather Walsh

A nearly weeklong code enforcement sweep of 42 residences and three motels in Hampton Bays resulted in 215 code violations issued against more than two dozen landlords in what Southampton Town officials called the largest such enforcement action in memory.

Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Town Code Compliance and Emergency Management Administrator Steven Troyd announced Friday at Town Hall that code enforcement officials found numerous violations — such as overcrowding, illegal rentals and illegal multifamily dwelling conversions, among others — in an operation that began Tuesday and ended Friday. Code enforcement officers used what officials described as “knock and announce” methods, during which inspectors knock on doors, announce their authority to search the premises and wait before entering.

Schneiderman called it “a large-scale operation unlike any I’ve seen.”

“These violations could endanger the lives of the residents living in unsafe conditions,” he said. “This will not be tolerated in the Town of Southampton.”

Officials issued fines ranging from $100 to $1,000 per violation.

In total, 28 landlords were cited, including a repeat offender who was convicted in June for failing to secure rental permits for eight properties he managed, town officials said.

The Bel-Aire Cove Motel at 20 Shinnecock Rd. was found to have several units with bedbugs, electrical violations, missing smoke detectors, overcrowding and property maintenance issues, among other complaints, Troyd said. The owner will be issued additional summonses to be included with pending court charges.

Though code enforcement officials investigated most of the residences and motels for weeks or several months, a motel at 329 East Montauk Hwy. was checked following a year of surveillance by code officials, stemming from a “history of problems.” The motel was found to be overcrowded, with most of its 20 units housing three or four people, even though they were designed to accommodate only two people.

The operation was a coordinated effort between the town’s fire marshals, police, health department and several other agencies.

Despite the size of the sweep, Christopher Fraser, the town’s supervising code enforcement officer, said officials are still investigating Hampton Bays properties for code infractions and would continue to pursue similar operations in other areas of Southampton.

Landlords are being informed of the violations and are being notified to appear in Southampton Justice Court at a later date.

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