Smithtown officials are ordering the cleanup of Kings Park home that neighbors call a "blight on the community" despite the homeowner's appeal for more time.
Smithtown Town Board voted to authorize town employees to enter 21 Heather Drive, owned by Charles Richie, to remove all junked vehicles, assorted yard waste and rubbish accumulated on the site for what some neighbors say has been more than 30 years.
"Fix the house, bury the house, I don't care what you do but enough is enough," said neighbor Kevin Hesselburg.
Pictures taken by assistant town attorney Martin Simon and neighboring homeowner Corlyn Nedwick show piles of air conditioners, home electronics, metal and trash outside of the home.
"I can deal with the rats, but it's not being able to invite people to my house without them discussing the situation, 'How do you live next door to this?" Nedwick said. "I've stopped inviting people over."
Richie has made an attempt to clean up by removing piles of scrap metal since the property was brought to the town board's attention at their Dec. 11 meeting, according to Nedwick, but it's only an effort to appease. Kings Parks residents are still concerned the littered home could become a fire hazard.
Simon said the town has served Richie with multiple summonses for the condition of property dating back to 2010, but he has not appeared in court - with the next court date set for March 12. There are two active warrants out for Richie's arrest.
Despite this, Richie sent an email to the town officials at 11:47 a.m. Tuesday to ask the afternoon's public hearing be adjourned for 30-days. Supervisor Patrick Vecchio called for a vote to take action to cleanup the property against town attorney John Zollo's recommendation.
Any costs the town incurs from cleaning up 21 Heather Drive will be held as lein against the property. Suffolk County will issue a tax warrant that will include the cost of the lein, according to Vecchio.
Zollo said Richie could appeal to New York State Supreme Court to get a stay to prevent the town's entry onto the property, but he was properly notified of the public hearing by certified mail on Dec. 13, 2012 and has prior summonses.
"It's just a delay tactic. I don't think he could stop it," Zollo said.
Kings Parks residents were relieved to hear the town was quick in moving ahead with cleanup of the property
"I'm sorry it had to get to this point, but maybe we can finally start enjoying our neighborhood," Nedwick said.
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