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Three more abandoned homes in Brookhaven set for demolition

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine is shown

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine is shown in this June 9, 2015 file photo. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Three more vacant houses in Brookhaven Town may be facing a date with the wrecking ball.

The town board on Thursday unanimously approved plans to demolish abandoned homes on Mastic Boulevard in Mastic, Woodland Boulevard in Centereach and Waverly Avenue in Holtsville because engineers found they were dangerous and unfit to be lived in.

Each house will be razed in about 30 days unless their owners repair problems such as leaky roofs and water damage.

Town officials angrily rejected requests from lawyers, representing banks that hold mortgages on the Mastic and Centereach houses, for more time to make repairs.

“This house has been deteriorating for a long, long, long, long time,” Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said, referring to the Centereach house. “If there is no progress, this house is coming down on the 31st day.”

Brookhaven officials had estimated in 2015 there may have been as many as 800 abandoned homes throughout the town. The town tore down more than 50 vacant houses last year.

A Newsday/News 12 Long Island investigation in 2015 found that Long Island municipalities had spent at least $3.2 million in 2014 to demolish, clean up or board hundreds of vacant homes. Many were believed to be “zombie homes” — houses that had been abandoned during foreclosures.

Assistant Town Attorney Penni McGrath said the three houses approved for demolition last week each had been cited for numerous building code violations in recent years. She said all three were unsafe and should be demolished.

Town officials said the costs of razing the houses and removing demolition debris will be added to the homeowners’ property tax bills.

McGrath said the Centereach and Mastic homes appeared to be in foreclosure. The listed owner of the Centereach house has died, she said.

Several animals have been removed from the Mastic house by town animal control officers and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, McGrath said. Hypodermic needles have been found at the Holtsville home, which also showed signs of termite infestations and damage caused by mold, she said.

The Centereach house had peeling paint and a tarp covering holes in the roof, and steel rods protruded from a concrete slab elsewhere on the property, McGrath said.

Councilman Dan Panico said the Mastic house had prompted complaints from area residents.

“It’s problematic. It’s been boarded, re-boarded,” he said. “I would like to see this house come down.”

Town officials also had threatened to demolish a vacant house on First Street in Holbrook. The owners of that house have agreed to make repairs, Romaine said.

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