A gaping hole scars the front of a dilapidated, vacant home in a residential neighborhood of Flanders. A carpet of green moss covers the roof of the two-story eyesore and blue graffiti is scrawled on its side.
The home at 56 Cypress Ave., vacant for more than a decade, is one of the properties Southampton Town officials are targeting for code enforcement action after they say property owners have been negligent in maintaining them — creating public safety hazards.
The Southampton Town Board on Tuesday approved resolutions to authorize cleanup operations at two blighted properties, one in Flanders and another in Riverside.
Assistant Town Attorney Sean Cambridge said the cleanups could include a vendor gathering debris at the sites for transport to a landfill. Work also could entail using plywood to cover any windows, doors or openings to the structures, he added.
The board tabled a resolution for similar action at a third property since the property owner started complying with the town’s requests, officials said.
“This is sort of the last resort for us,” Southampton Town Attorney James Burke said in an interview Wednesday about the resolutions.
The town’s code enforcement division notified the Cypress Avenue property owner on Aug. 23 that the property wasn't properly maintained and required immediate action to address violations, according to the board's resolution to authorize enforcement. The measure noted the property was "infested with rodents."
The board’s action allows the town to hire a vendor to complete the required work and the cost will be added onto the owner’s property tax bill, Burke said. The enforcement doesn't allow the town to demolish the structures, but Burke said the town could consider separate a measure for demolition “down the road.”
The second property is a residential structure at 229 Flanders Rd. in Riverside, where debris is spread across the footprint and an industrial-sized trash bin is overflowing in the rear.
Cambridge said the property owners have been “nonresponsive.”
Both properties are owned by corporations; GTL Management Corp. for the Cypress Avenue home and 223 Flanders Road Corp. for the Flanders Road property.
Records for both corporations list Lyle Pike of Southampton as chief executive. Pike couldn't be reached this week by phone or email.
Cambridge said the town also is prosecuting the code enforcement cases in Southampton Justice Court.
Angela Huneault, 49, president of the Flanders, Riverside & Northampton Community Association, supported the town’s new measures during a public hearing Tuesday.
She said in an interview Wednesday the enforcement effort lets other property owners know community members and officials are keeping an eye out for blighted properties.
Revitalization plans for the long-impoverished hamlet of Riverside have hinged on a sewer system that officials have said could spur investment and development in the area.
Councilwoman Cyndi McNamara said in an interview those plans "are as close as it's ever been."
She added that the town should consider implementing a code that creates a point scale for rating blighted properties to allow the town to act faster on enforcement.
“It’s not fair because it’s usually the underserved communities that get stuck with it,” McNamara said.
Town officials also considered taking enforcement action against the owner of 11 Flanders Rd. at the Riverside roundabout.
But Burke said the owner applied for a demolition permit for the property, where plans for a 7-Eleven and a new gas station have been pending before the town’s planning board for more than two years.
Blight, be gone
- Southampton Town has authorized action to clean up two blighted properties.
- The property owners at two sites have been “nonresponsive,” according to officials.
- The cleaning cost will be added onto the property owners’ tax bills.