The Village of Lindenhurst has moved closer to taking over more than three dozen superstorm Sandy-damaged properties even while it presses the state to make repairs on some of those properties.
The village board of trustees voted June 5 to authorize Village Administrator Doug Madlon to execute a contract and close on 43 properties that the state purchased for $18.2 million as part of NY Rising’s Enhanced Buyout program. The initiative was designed to return flood-prone properties to a natural state as buffer zones, with the houses demolished and no development allowed.
The village had agreed to take the properties three years ago, but after a change in administration and closer inspection of the now empty lots last year, village officials tried to get the state to retain some of the more badly damaged properties. The state insisted that the village needed to abide by the agreement.
Now, Mayor Mike Lavorata said, the village is trying to push the state to fix or replace the bulkheading on four properties before taking deed to them. Lavorata said one lot on Bayview Avenue West has 200 feet of bulkheading that’s been “totally destroyed.” Bulkeading can cost $1,500 per foot, he said.
“We’re asking them to help us out a little bit,” Lavorata said. “We’re taking something off their shoulders as well, so they have to meet us halfway.”
Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery spokeswoman Catie Marshall said bulkhead repair or replacement is not under discussion. She said the state expects to transfer titles for all of the properties to the village within the next few weeks.
In Lindenhurst, unlike some other areas where the program was implemented, participants were scattered, creating a checkerboard effect of empty lots on streets. Lavorata said the village is hoping neighbors of the properties will buy or lease them from the village, thereby taking away the maintenance burden. But the village is unlikely to get any takers for properties requiring expensive repairs, he added.
Rafiya Naim, who lives next door to one of the four most-damaged properties, said she would consider leasing or buying the lot, but only if repairs were made.
“Bulkheading is not cheap,” she said.