Islandia will hold a public hearing in May to discuss seizing two properties through eminent domain, but officials have not said how the lots will be used.
The village board voted in March to have the hearing about potentially seizing 42 Dean St. and 798 Old Nichols Rd. — both abandoned homes.
The village scrapped a plan in September to pursue eminent domain of property now owned by a horse therapy farm on Old Nichols Road — near the lot officials are currently looking to seize — to build a public works yard. At the time, Mayor Allan Dorman said the village was considering other properties for the yard.
Dorman did not return a phone call for comment, and a village spokesman did not respond to several calls and emails about the properties.
A public notice will be filed before the May 7 hearing, village attorney Joseph W. Prokop said. The purpose of the hearing is to discuss what the village intends to do with the properties and what environmental impact the acquisitions may cause, he said.
The 2.8-acre Old Nichols Road property includes an abandoned house in foreclosure proceedings, according to court records and a relative of the owner. It is across the street from the Pal-O-Mine horse farm, which was closing a deal on property to expand its business at the same time the village pursued eminent domain on that same property. Pal-O-Mine's owner did not respond to several requests for comment.
Mildred Stuart owns the house at 798 Old Nichols Rd., according to property records, with her granddaughter, Jessica Stuart, who lives in Pennsylvania. Mildred Stuart is deceased, as is her husband, Jessica Stuart said.
“This is the big guy again, taking advantage of the little guy,” Stuart said. “My family is gone, they suffered tremendously health wise while watching this play out little by little. … It is profoundly upsetting.”
Stuart, who said she grew up in the home, said people had often approached her grandparents about buying it. Stuart’s grandparents owned a floral nursery in the area, she said.
The vacant house is north of the Long Island Expressway and south of Motor Parkway, which makes it an attractive location, Stuart said.
The 42 Dean St. house is owned by Saundra L. Richardson. Neither Richardson nor relatives could be reached for comment. The home is about 1.2 miles south of 798 Old Nichols Rd. Richardson is named in a foreclosure case. A man who answered a telephone at the law firm representing the bank, confirmed the address is the subject of "active litigation," but declined to say more.
Lauren Barrios lives next door to the Dean Street house, where a sign declares it “unsafe for human occupancy.” Barrios said she has mixed feelings about Islandia pursuing the property through eminent domain.
“I would love for them to take down the house. I feel it is lowering the value of my own home,” she said. However, Barrios said, she doesn’t want to be in the dark about the village’s intent.