The Town of Smithtown has taken further steps towards cleaning and ridding the town of blighted properties by targeting three specific homes in Smithtown and Kings Park for cleanup on recent town board agendas.
The process of addressing the town’s blighted properties began in June of last year with town councilmen Robert Creighton, Kevin Malloy and Edward Wehrheim forming a master list of 19 properties considered blighted in the town.
“We’re not looking to take them all on at once, but we’re dealing with the ones that seem to get more attention like on Fairview [Avenue] and Hightower [Homes],” said Town Attorney John Zollo. “We’re getting phone calls from residents about the conditions.”
The Hightower Homes, located at 77 and 81 West Main Street in Kings Park, were targeted on the Sept. 20 town board meeting agenda where the board approved the town attorney’s office to start the process that will rid the properties of brush, grass, weeds and garbage that violate the town code.
Similarly on the Oct. 2 town board meeting agenda, the home at 10 Fairview Avenue in Smithtown was listed to have the town attorney’s office pursue the removal of solid waste, garbage and graffiti that violates town code.
With the town board approving the cleanup agenda items during the last two board meetings, Zollo now could move forward with the procedures set forth in town code, a procedure that includes having a declaration set forth by the town board to begin the process, notifying the property owner that they have 72 hours to correct the conditions, and holding a public hearing regarding the specific property to be cleaned.
If the repairs are not made to the property within 72 hours, according to Zollo, the town could then enter the property to make the repairs and then assess the costs to the property owner against the property.
“It’s working but it’s a very slow process. You’re dealing with individual rights, you can’t just go on the properties,” Malloy said. “You can put them on notice and then after they fail to do it, [the town will] clean it up and attach the property with the cost of the cleanup.”