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Brookhaven cracks down on illegal student housing near Stony Brook

Stony Brook University, founded in 1957, is a

Stony Brook University, founded in 1957, is a public research university in Stony Brook on the North Shore of Long Island, and ranked in the top 100 public universities by the U.S. News & World Report, with about 25,000 students enrolled. (July 26, 2012) Credit: Brittany Wait

The Brookhaven Town board has passed a package of resolutions to strengthen sanctions against absentee landlords who illegally rent rooms to students seeking off-campus housing in the Stony Brook University area.

After hearing comments from some of the hundreds of residents in the Stony Brook, Setauket and East Setauket communities in attendance, the board voted unanimously Tuesday to increase penalties for violators of the town zoning code and rental permit policy, and clarify the definition of single-family housing.

Stony Brook resident Craig Surrusco told the board that he lives near a student-occupied house on Hilton Court that has caused him "many sleepless nights."

"There are large parties weekly, with drinking and driving through the neighborhood," he said.

Another resident, Bruce Sander, founder of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners, told the board that tighter laws against illegal housing will save his neighborhood.

"It's imperative the laws protect our single-family dwellings," he said.

Stony Brook University's vice president for external affairs, Elaine Crosson, said the school will work closely with the town to help students avoid illegal housing.

The university now requires landlords to submit proof of appropriate permits before they can list properties on the school's off-campus-housing website.

In the month since the rule was adopted, the list has been cut about in half, Crosson said.

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