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N. Hempstead: Fix buildings, or lose them

The North Hempstead Town Board has voted to give the town the authority to raze an abandoned building if the owner doesn’t fix it up within a given time frame.

“A blighted building really detracts from all of the other buildings around it,” said Daniel Donatelli, co-president of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, who pushed for the bill. Donatelli cited a building on Port Washington Boulevard north of Main Street that has been dilapidated for decades as an example of why such a law is needed.

The Town Board unanimously passed a local law Tuesday night requiring the owner of an “unsafe” building to meet deadlines to bring it up to code. If that doesn’t happen, the law permits the town to move to secure or raze the building and assess the expenses against the property.

Calling it “landmark legislation,” Councilman Fred Pollack, the bill’s sponsor, said it would “encourage owners to bring properties into compliance.”

Paul Palmieri, president of the Lindenhurst-based Coalition of Landlords, Homeowners and Merchants, said his group successfully fought the Town of Brookhaven over a similar program several years ago.

“The government’s not supposed to take your property without just compensation,” he said. “It’s an end run around the Constitution to steal people’s property.”

Under the provisions of the law, the building department can order an abandoned building to be registered with the town within 10 days. The owner then has five days to file a plan to bring the property up to code, 30 days to apply for any required town permits and 90 days to complete the work.

In other business Tuesday night, the town board set a July 12 public hearing on a proposal to impose alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations on a residential Port Washington neighborhood where train commuters park.

The board defeated an earlier proposal that would have covered only two of those streets. Some residents said it would have led commuters to move to other streets.

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