The Smithtown Town Council has begun to take aand is working on steps to address them.
The initiative spearheaded by town councilmen Robert Creighton, Kevin Malloy and Ed Wehrheim includes a master list of nineteen properties that could be considered blighted in Smithtown. It has not yet been determined if the properties on the list are blighted and the list may still grow.
Wehrheim, at the Kings Park Civic Association meeting last week, said blighted homes were a problem and that more has to be done to address them.
“We are getting tougher on the problem. We are taking a hard line if you are not going forward with the property,” said Wehrheim. “We can certainly make it more difficult than we have.”
Though nothing exists on the books today, the town would like to put something in place that would give them the ability to address these properties.
“The town is thinking of a blight ordinance, which is beyond a property maintenance ordinance,” said Frank DeRubeis, director of planning for the town of Smithtown. “We can write it. The hard part is deciding how you can implement it. When it comes to property we have to be careful. We can do something when there is a clear public problem."
DeRubeis said other towns have developed a point system by scoring a site. If it falls below the said score the town takes steps to remove the blighted property.
“Blight impacts property value and can undermine property values of a community and is a legitimate thing for communities to attack," said DeRubeis.
Two attorneys, whom Wehrheim describes as tough, have been put into place to help tackle the problem. “We are laying down maximum fines. We don’t have to negotiate a $5,000 fine down to $3,000," he said.
“It is a good sign that the town is willing to make a list like this,” said Kings Park Civic Association President Sean Lehmann.
Properties located in Kings Park that could be considered blighted but have not yet been determined:
Hightower Homes. Two homes that were never completed.
Ley Property. 1215 Route 25A. Abandoned commercial building.
Kings Park Adult Home. Abandoned adult home with significant damage.