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Seaford marina wants to evict houseboats

Beached and damaged house barges on Ocean Avenue

Beached and damaged house barges on Ocean Avenue after superstorm Sandy in Seaford. (Nov. 21, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

The owners of some Seaford houseboats washed ashore by superstorm Sandy say their beached homes are in peril again -- this time because the owner of their home marina wants to evict them.

The owners of six houseboats and larger house barges were served with notices from the owners of the Ocean Avenue marina that their homes must be moved out by Friday, owners of the vessels said.

Two of the houseboats are docked while the others are in the marina's parking lot, awaiting storm-related repairs. The four grounded vessels have also been served by Hempstead Town with notices that they are unfit for human habitation, said owners and town officials.

June Rose, one of the grounded house barge owners, said the marina owners' call for the houseboat owners to vacate has deepened the trauma of losing their homes to the storm.

The marina owners gave no reason why the vessels must move, she said, and the houseboat owners plan to fight the order in court.

"You don't throw this thing on the back of a pickup and go somewhere," said Rose of her 20-ton barge, Junique. "We're going to fight this eviction."

The marina is owned by Robert Brahms and Eric Schwartz. Attempts to contact both were not successful. A call to their attorney was not returned.

Spokesmen for Hempstead Town and Nassau County said the dispute is between the marina owners and the houseboat owners because the marina is private property.

The town issued notices that the damaged houseboats are unfit for occupancy, said Hempstead spokesman Mike Deery. The notice does not carry a fine and is not a court summons, he said.

The town declared the houseboats unfit because they lack water, electricity and sanitary facilities, Deery said. The violation would be solved by repairing the boats and putting them back in the water -- something the owners of the boats have said they are in the midst of doing, Deery said.

"We're not kicking anyone out of their homes," Deery said.

Some of the houseboats had been beached on streets and front lawns during the storm. Owners had gathered around a crane on the day before Thanksgiving, smiles on their faces, as their homes were returned to the marina.

The joy appears to have been short-lived, said Peter Kopher, whose barge is grounded in the marina.

"I'm just fed up with all of this," Kopher said.

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