Brookhaven recommends razing structural eyesores

By Derek Futterman

FARMINGVILLE​ — After hearing inspection reports, the Town of Brookhaven Board recommended demolishing three derelict buildings around the town at its most recent meeting.

“This town board tries to work with people in an effort to get these properties either rehabbed or torn down on their own,” said Councilman Dan Panico, a Republican from the 6th District.

Brendan Sweeney, the town’s secretary to the commissioner, presented information to the board on the three properties in question. The structures, Sweeney said, have been deemed “unsafe” and “in an advanced state of disrepair,” noting they are “unsanitary” and “unfit for human occupancy,” and could pose a threat to public safety.

Among the properties was a former animal hospital at 1645 Montauk Highway, which is boarded up with a partially collapsed roof.

The Town of Brookhaven Board has deemed a former animal hospital at 1645 Montauk Highway in Bellport as potentially hazardous to the public and is recommending that it be demolished. Photo courtesy Google

“There are fallen ceilings throughout due to prolonged exposure to moisture to water from holes in the roof,” Sweeney said. “Trash, debris and suspect mold are found throughout the interior. The crawl space, which is accessible from the exterior, has main support beams that are broken and partially burned.”

An accessory building on the property was in a similar state, with damaged walls, mold and a deteriorating roof, Sweeney said.

Ghulam Sarwar, the building’s owner, said he hoped to avoid demolishing the structures by converting them to a home for a military veteran. The property, however, is zoned for commercial use, not as a residence.

“This would need an engineered set of plans,” said town attorney Annette Eaderesto. “This is not something that can happen tomorrow. This is not an easy road.”

Sarwar, of Middle Island, said he could demolish the buildings quickly after receiving a demolition permit, suggesting he could do the job the day after securing one.

Board members said Sarwar must act quickly. “It’s to the point now where either you come in and fix it up and put in a building permit, or you come in and put in a demolition permit and tear it down,” Supervisor Edward Romaine said. “We just know that this is an eyesore, it’s neglected, it hasn’t been taken care of.”

The public hearings on potential building demolitions continued throughout the meeting, next focusing on 19 Overlook Drive in Mastic. With a compromised fence and collapsed east side of the building, the property should be demolished, town officials said. Debris from collapse of the structure’s east side has yet to be cleaned up.

Councilman Neil Foley, a Republican of the 5th District, called it “an emergency situation.”

“It is my fear that as the colder weather approaches, you’re going to have people invariably try to move into here and potentially light a fire,” said Panico, adding to Foley’s remark. “I would hate to see the occupants in there, firefighters [exposing themselves to harm] to save those people.”

The town board generally gives a building owner 30 days to obtain a demolition permit. Often, however, it speeds up that process when a building is potentially hazardous.

“Through its extremely poor condition and rapid deterioration, the engineers believe this site poses a threat to the health, safety and general welfare of the public,” Sweeney said of 19 Overlook Drive.

After hearing a similar report from Sweeney on a property at 53 Glenmere Lane in Coram, describing a property with an outdoor deck in danger of collapse, a worn-out roof and a damp basement full of trash, the board voted 7–0 to acknowledge the three properties as potentially hazardous and recommended their demolition.

Additionally, the board voted to adjourn public hearings on two properties in Bellport to Nov. 19 at 2:30 p.m. The properties in question include 38 Parkside Ave. and 1645 Montauk Highway.

The board’s decision was made in conjunction with an engineer’s report by Cashin, Spinelli & Ferretti LLC in Hauppauge.

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The Long Island Advocate is a multimedia news organization at Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication where students gain valuable real-world experience producing news and features for online platforms. We have partnered with Garden City-based LIHerald.com.

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