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Town of Brookhaven approves new law on vacant houses

Edward P. Romaine is the Brookhaven town supervisor.

Edward P. Romaine is the Brookhaven town supervisor. (Sept. 4 , 2012) Credit: David Pokress

Owners of vacant houses in Brookhaven Town must register the dwellings with the municipality, under a new law adopted this week by the town board.

The law, modeled on similar statutes in Boston, Chicago and Atlanta, is intended to convince property owners to clean up blighted homes or face fines ranging from $1,000 to $15,000, Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said.

“These dangerous eyesores threaten the quality of life of the people who live nearby and seriously affect the property values of the other homes in the neighborhood,” Romaine said in a statement. “Now we have a law that gives us the power to crack down on negligent property owners who do not safely maintain abandoned homes.”

The law, approved unanimously by the town board Tuesday, requires owners to register vacant buildings they own, and provide the town with names and contact information for people or organizations responsible for maintaining them. The registration fee is $250.

The town said it has boarded up 360 homes so far this year, and secured 307 homes last year.

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