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Building code change gets another look in Brookhaven

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine and Councilman

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine and Councilman Timothy Mazzei joined business owners at a news conference in Fire Island Pines to highlight Fire Island’s recovery from superstorm Sandy. (July 1, 2013) Credit: Steve Pfost

Brookhaven Town officials may amend a code change intended to make it easier for Fire Islanders to rebuild houses destroyed by superstorm Sandy.

The code change — which waived requirements to seek variances from the town board of zoning appeals if a house was severely damaged by Sandy — may have inadvertently eased the zoning review process for residents whose houses were not affected by the October 2012 storm.

Officials from the Fire Island National Seashore, which is involved in beach restoration, pointed out that the revamped code did not specify that it would apply only to homes lost to natural disasters or fires, said town attorney Annette Eaderesto. That potentially could have allowed other Fire Island houses to exceed building limits without town approval.

“The language was a little too loose,” she said.

The new code would be restricted to victims of fires and devastating storms, Eaderesto said. The town board has scheduled a Jan. 30 public hearing on the issue.

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