After Stephen and Roseann Frisch’s Lindenhurst home was destroyed by superstorm Sandy in 2012, the couple rebuilt and raised their house 4 feet higher. However, water continues to seep onto their property by way of crumbling bulkheads on an empty lot next door where a house once stood.
A solution that is being offered to homeowners such as the Frisches is a Lindenhurst Village program that allows residents to purchase neighboring vacant properties that were affected by Sandy.
The village earlier this year acquired 39 open spaces from the state and have offered them for sale to neighbors through the Lot Next Door program. The Frisches, who live on Bayview Avenue East, won't be allowed to develop the lot, but they can begin to address the deteriorating bulkheads.
“We’ve been living next to barren lots since this, and it’s really a blight on the whole neighborhood,” Stephen Frisch said. “The bulkheads on any of these properties were never maintained.”
They own another home that backs up to a canal on Ocean Street and is “being undermined” by the vacant lot next door whose old and battered bulkhead lets water onto the property.
“I’ve been coming to meetings for years saying, ‘When can I buy the properties because I need to fix the bulkheads,’ ” Frisch said.
He said he may split one parcel with another neighbor who wants to buy it, while he expects to buy an entire second vacant parcel.
The village acquired the properties from the state, which paid $18 million for them through the NY Rising's volunteer enhanced buyout program. Village officials had the lots appraised before recently offering them to residents.
Village administrator clerk Douglas Madlon said there is interest from neighbors on most of the parcels. Money from the land sales will go to the village.
“It’s not so much the money, it’s the idea of we have control over who’s going to own these properties," Madlon said. "This way we can sell them to neighbors.”
Village trustee Pat Pichichero said residents next door to the open spaces get first crack at buying the lot before they are offered to neighbors across the street.
“Since it’s a next-door lot program, most of these people know that these lots are available,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of letters in village hall, now we’re going letter by letter, lot by lot.”
No structures can be erected on the lots, and the village set additional guidelines, including that no more than one boat be moored on the property and requiring that the new owner repair or replace the bulkhead within two years.
“There’s no boiler plate on how to move forward … so we’re making it up and making sure we’re doing the right thing for the residents,” Pichichero said.
39 — Number of properties up for sale
$18 million — What the state spent to purchase the properties for open space
$15,600 — What the village paid Lauritano Appraisal Services of Babylon to appraise the properties
80-90% — Percentage of vacant properties village officials say residents have expressed interest in buying