Brookhaven officials have condemned 10 vacant North Bellport parcels to make way for an affordable housing project that could provide homes for up to 40 families.
The properties will be added to 14 other parcels on Ecke Avenue previously acquired by the nonprofit Long Island Housing Partnership, which will build and market as many as 20 houses with adjoining apartments for eligible homeowners and renters. Construction is expected to begin next year.
The town board on Aug. 7 voted 6-0 to condemn the 10 properties after their owners refused to sell the lands. Town officials said they offered a total of $154,250 for the parcels.
"This is another example of projects that will offer opportunities for home ownership to folks that may not ordinarily have that opportunity," Brookhaven Councilman Michael Loguercio said in a text. "I will continue to work with our partners in government to bring more of these projects to additional families."
Once all the properties are acquired by the town and housing partnership, they will be subdivided into as many as 20 lots, depending on what is allowed by town zoning laws and Suffolk County health regulations, said James Britz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the housing partnership.
Purchase and rental prices for the homes have not been established, Britz said. He said most of the parcels acquired by the partnership had been donated by Suffolk County, which had seized the land from previous owners who had failed to pay property taxes.
To buy the houses, prospective purchasers must earn no more than about $99,200, or 80 percent of Long Island's median income. Homeowners will be responsible for serving as landlords for the accessory apartments, Britz said.
Renters must earn no more than $30,000 to $50,000 annually, or 60 percent of the median income, Britz said, adding that renters may be relatives of the homeowners. The houses are expected to include one-story ranches and two-story houses, he said.
Britz said the houses and apartments would help address a severe shortage of affordable housing on Long Island. Those in need of such housing include retirees and young people looking for their first homes, he said.
“Obviously, we have a major issue with keeping seniors and also [preventing] the brain drain,” Britz said. “We have thousands come through our doors each year. ... The need definitely outweighs the supply.”
Brookhaven officials said they had offered prices ranging from $11,500 to $45,000 for each of the condemned properties. The properties comprise a total of about one acre, officials said.
John Harris of North Bellport said he rejected the town's offer to buy two parcels he owns on Ecke Avenue because he thought they were worth more than the $11,500 offered for each.
"What they're offering after 30 years of paying taxes on it, I'm losing money," he told town board members during a public hearing. "I want market prices."
Supervisor Edward P. Romaine responded that prices had been set by appraisals of each property. He offered to continue talks with Harris and other property owners.
"Rather than go to court, maybe there can be some negotiations," Romaine said.