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Mastic Beach houses to be demolished, Brookhaven Town rules

Two houses on Riviera Drive in Mastic Beach

Two houses on Riviera Drive in Mastic Beach will be demolished because they are unsafe. The Brookhaven Town Board voted on Feb. 8, 2018, to approve the demolitions. Credit: Town of Brookhaven

Three abandoned Mastic Beach houses destroyed by superstorm Sandy are to be demolished after Brookhaven Town officials found they were unsafe and uninhabitable.

All three houses are on Riviera Drive, which runs through a waterfront section of the South Shore community that was flooded during the October 2012 storm.

The houses are among a “sizable number” of Mastic Beach homes that Brookhaven building inspectors are evaluating for possible demolition, Town Councilman Dan Panico said Monday in an interview. Town officials said they have stepped up building inspections in the former incorporated village since it disbanded on Dec. 31.

“We’re making our way through the entire area. Any homes that qualify to be demolished will be demolished,” Panico said. “We want to show the community that things can get better. We’ve dedicated a lot of time and resources to the community. We aim to make a big difference.”

The town board voted unanimously on Jan. 25 to raze one of the houses, a 30-by-35 foot wood frame structure that town inspectors said was in “extremely poor condition.”

Frank Fugarino, president of the Pattersquash Creek Civic Association, said the home was “the most unstable and unsafe house in our community.”

Members of the Murcott family, who own the property, said they welcomed the decision to tear down the house, a former summer bungalow. Town officials promised to help the family obtain demolition permits so they could raze the house themselves. The house was still standing Monday, Panico said.

Vacant homes in Mastic Beach include some damaged by Sandy or fire, and some abandoned during foreclosure proceedings, Panico said. Officials have said there are hundreds of empty homes in the community.

“They’re abandoned, and a lot of times they’ve already been ransacked by squatters,” Panico said, adding town officials expect more Mastic Beach homes to be demolished by spring. “A lot of times, the cost to repair exceeds the values of these properties.”

The town board voted 7-0 Thursday to tear down the other two Riviera Drive houses. Both homes “sustained severe flooding and wind damage” from Sandy “and have remained in disrepair ever since,” officials said in a news release.

The owners of each property were given 30 days to demolish the homes or make repairs. Town crews will tear down the homes if the owners do not do so, and demolition and debris removal costs will be tacked onto the owners’ property tax bills, officials said.

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