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Port Jefferson officials may move to condemn vacant diner in Upper Port neighborhood

The Village Board has agreed to give property

The Village Board has agreed to give property owner Jose R. Ramos until Nov. 17, 2014, to obtain demolition permits and contact utility companies in preparation for tearing down the diner on Main Street in Port Jefferson, seen here on Oct. 3, Mayor Margot J. Garant said. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Port Jefferson officials may condemn a vacant diner that they say is a safety hazard that should be torn down.

Mayor Margot J. Garant said the village board may vote on Nov. 3 to raze the building if its owner fails to submit plans to repair or demolish it.

Property owner Jose R. Ramos, of Riverhead, has been invited to appear at a public hearing that night to discuss his plans for the site. Attempts to reach Ramos last week were unsuccessful.

Garant said the shuttered diner, at 1527 Main St., is one of several buildings in the village's Upper Port neighborhood that may be razed because of safety concerns. Village officials have targeted the area for redevelopment.

"We're trying to send a very strong message to the Upper Port property owners that if they don't take down their properties, the village is going to do it for them," Garant said in an interview.

The diner demolition would be the first under a new procedure adopted this year to expedite condemnations of buildings that village inspectors find to be dangerous.

The village board approves plans to raze unsafe structures under the new procedure. Previously, the village had sought approvals for demolitions from State Supreme Court.

The diner has been vacant about eight years and has attracted vagrants, Garant said. It was inspected last month and found to have numerous safety hazards, including fire damage, inadequate light and air due to boards placed over windows, structural attachments that could fall and injure passersby, fire code violations and broken emergency shutoff valves, Port Jefferson officials said.

"It's a real problem up there because it's an attractive nuisance," Garant said.

The cost of the demolition would be added to Ramos' property tax bill, village attorney Brian Egan said. Garant could not estimate the cost of razing the structure.

This is the third time village officials have proposed tearing down the diner. The previous efforts, in 2007 and 2008, were scuttled when the owner, then listed as a Los Pipiles of Riverhead, announced plans to rehabilitate the structure.

Los Pipiles never followed through with those plans, village officials said.

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