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Huntington seeks to oust homeowner as "public nuisance"

The Huntington Town Board has voted to begin legal action to remove from his home an East Northport man the board says has promoted criminal activity.

Using a rarely employed strategy, the board voted unanimously on an emergency resolution to deem the property at 42 Norton Dr. "a repeat public nuisance."

Officials say the owner, Salvatore Napoli, 51, is in violation of Chapter 50 of the town code, which cites offenses such as possession of illegal drugs and prostitution.

Town spokesman A. J. Carter said only two other cases in Huntington have gotten this far since Chapter 50 was enacted in 1997.

Attorney Paul Sabatino of Huntington Station, a former chief deputy Suffolk County executive, said he knows of only a handful of other instances in the county when the law was applied.

Napoli was arrested by Suffolk police on March 3 and May 21 on charges including possession of controlled substances with intent to sell, possession of controlled substances, and criminal nuisance for unlawfully conducting or maintaining premises where people gather for drug transactions, town officials said.

On Aug. 11, Napoli was arrested again at his home on some of the same charges. He also was charged with unlawful conduct for engaging in acts of prostitution and illegal drug transactions stemming from incidents that happened May 29 near his home, police said.

"We mean business," Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said. "We've had three incidents here and we think we should act sooner rather than later, so we are moving immediately."

Bob Clifford, a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney, said Napoli is due in court Thursday for a conference regarding an indictment he was arraigned on last month stemming from the March 3 arrest.

Clifford said Napoli pleaded not guilty and posted $5,000 bail. The May 21 and Aug. 11 charges are misdemeanors and will be handled in district court, said Clifford, who declined to comment further.

Calls to Napoli's attorney, George Harmel of Central Islip, were not returned. Napoli could not be reached for comment.

The board acted after neighbors told them of round-the-clock activity, with people going in and out of the house, and finding drug paraphernalia in surrounding yards.

The vote authorized the town attorney to proceed with sanctions against the property, ranging from a temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction, eviction of the occupants or tenants, and/or seizure and forfeiture of the property. Town officials said they want Napoli out of the house at least until his criminal charges are resolved.

"We're seeking a remedy where there would be a receiver to oversee this property to ensure it's no longer used for criminal activity," said assistant town attorney Johanna Stewart-Suchow.

Two violations within a year of the town code's Chapter 50 triggers a "repeat public nuisance" finding and subjects the property to action by the town, Huntington Public Safety director Bruce Richard said.

"One of the aspects of Chapter 50 is to put the owner on notice after the first arrest," Richard said. "He was given the first chance to correct the situation with the clear knowledge that, if he didn't, we would move towards it."

With Zachary R. Dowdy


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