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Vacant Bayport Home Poses Safety Hazard, Say Neighbors

Town officials have responded but are limited due to steady tax payments.

Photo by Judy Mottl/Patch.
Photo by Judy Mottl/Patch.
The dilapidated condition of a Middle Road home in Bayport has neighbors asking for Islip Town’s help but bureaucratic limitations may prove to be a tough obstacle.

The home at 637 Middle Road, just east of the Bayport Avenue and Middle Road intersection, is a vacant boarded up residence clearly in decay given rotting wood, overgrown foliage and evidence of attempted vandalism.

According to one neighbor, the home was abandoned about 10 years ago and efforts by the town to clean up and secure the property have taken place. But the increasing safety hazards presented, and the overall appearance are prompting neighbors to push for more town action.

“It looks like it’s ready to fall down, and the rodent and raccoon infestation has some neighbors putting traps in their own yards to protect their children,” one neighbor told Patch in a phone interview this week.

“We need something to be done because someone could get hurt and it’s a blight that will hurt us if we ever decide to sell our home.”

But according to town officials, knocking down the house or even further security actions at the property are challenging as the taxes are being paid by the owners, Ruth and Timothy Sanford, who, according to land deed information, have owned the home since 1959.

Islip officials acknowledge that there has been a long history of dealing with the abandoned home, beginning back in 2006 when the town boarded up it up and exterminated raccoons. 

In March, 2009 the town boarded up a window and did a property cleanup. In April, 2010 the town demolished a front porch and chimney and in 2011 it secured a rear window and boarded up a large hole.

This year, in June, the town was once again back on the property to secure a window and put a lock on the door.

All the building and property work was billed to the homeowner as part of the town tax process and was paid for. That, and the fact that the homeowners are up to date on tax payments, limits what the town can do, say officials.

If the home owners fall behind on property taxes the town would have more leverage to take further action, such as condemnation or taking ownership.

“Properties may stand vacant for indefinite amounts of time as long as the property owner adequately maintains the property.  If not, the town comes in and cleans up, boards up, etc. and charges that bill as a special assessment back on the tax bill,” stated a town spokesperson in an email to Patch.
dave m December 04, 2013 at 12:25 PM
There is a vacant house on renee dr as well. This house has been empty for 15 years. Its an eyesore with debris on the property and tattered blue tarp covering the collapsing roof. Its a health issue as well with the raccoons inside and the mold contamination. This has to hurt the area property values but doesn't lessen the neighborhood tax assessment values. The town has been notified but to no avail.
Judy Hogan Mottl December 04, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Hi Dave, can you email me at judy.mottl@patch.com
nkoehler1 December 04, 2013 at 01:00 PM
I live next door to that house on Renee for all of those 15 years. They boarded up the windows and claim that is the solution to the raccoons as well as the mold growing inside. The tattered tarp is dragged into my house constantly. Don't get me started. The town is useless.
Hiram Walkers December 04, 2013 at 03:28 PM
You could rest assured that if this dilapidated boarded up home was in East Islip or Brightwaters, Trish Bergin and Steve Fl;otteron would see that it was cleaned up.
dan pichney December 05, 2013 at 08:11 AM
This, unfortunately, is the dark side of private property rights which are sacred in this country. The best that neighbors can do is buy the property (if the owners are willing to sell), demolish the building and sell the land.
Ed Horcrantz December 05, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Why don't you buy it? Better yet why doesn't the town of islip do their job?
ItsNotMeItsYou December 05, 2013 at 05:09 PM
They are still paying the taxes and there is no indication that it's for sale. It seems that they want to keep it. Looks like they are bad neighbors.
dan pichney December 06, 2013 at 06:17 AM
Sorry I can't help you Ed. I already own close to a dozen houses in Bayport and I don't need another one.
Mary December 06, 2013 at 02:01 PM
I live across the street from the Renee Drive rattrap. It has been vacant at least 15 years. We have watched it fall apart. Years ago there were signs in the windows warning of black mold. You could watch the raccoons go in and out of the holes in the roof. Sure, it's tarped but the winds have ripped much of that away and the roof is now caving in so you know where that black mold is escaping. Couple of months ago the town had someone board it up (notice posted after a hearing), i was home that day but I did not see the exterminator that also was supposed to come before that so now the place is probably also full of dead animals. Lovely. Someone actually bought the place about 2 years ago, saw him once raking leaves that fall and never again. ( This was after multiple auctions where nothing ever happened). I pick up the discarded papers and cans & bottles that the party kids leave so they don't blow all over my lawn & my neighbors. As far as knocking it down, there are town codes about how much can be removed from an existing structure, which is a joke, there is not one salvageable wall in that house after the termites, mold, water damage etc. Sick to death of this...as mentioned above if this house was across the street from an elected official it sure wouldn't look like this and I'll bet all kinds of variances would be granted so that the codes could be over-ridden. Meanwhile just jack up my taxes while my property value goes down sitting across from this POS.
Ed Horcrantz December 08, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Dan...... Your comment "I already own close to a dozen houses in Bayport" concerns me. Are you a slumlord who does not even know how many homes you own? You can't count above 10? Is it 11 or 12? And by the way, your comment does not impress me. It indicates to me that either you can't count or your a liar. Perhaps you do own close to 12 homes. Who cares?
dan pichney December 08, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Ed, Without looking, how much change do you have in your pocket right now? That's how I think about houses.
Ed Horcrantz December 08, 2013 at 06:18 PM
I figured you needed my spare change. Gotta watch your wallets around these guys folks...... Especially the Bayport land baron who lost count of how many houses he owns in Bayport.
Mike December 09, 2013 at 04:06 AM
Burn it south Bronx 1985 style!!
Mary December 09, 2013 at 08:24 AM
Mike, I might have thought about that except that a) arson is illegal and I'm allergic to jail, and more importantly b) my neighbors live too close and I wouldn't do that to them...
Mike December 09, 2013 at 09:16 AM
@ Mary LOL good point!
Mike December 09, 2013 at 09:18 AM
@ Dan: Now don't be silly!
Concerned Citizen December 09, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Is the owner of the house on Renee reading this? Want to sell?
Mary December 09, 2013 at 11:51 AM
He's probably not reading this since it looks like he lives somewhere in Queens, according to the notice posted before the Town boarded the house up just a few months ago (why didn't I write that address down??? oh yeah, was on my way to work). And as much as I'd like to see someone (else) buy it, you've really got to come check out what you're getting yourself into...
Concerned Citizen December 09, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Yes, I know. I was bidding on it with someone but it went higher than we thought it was worth. It would have to be torn down & the only thing you could save would be the foundation. (possibly) Thought a contractor picked it up. I don't know what he paid for it, but I know it was too much.
ItsNotMeItsYou December 09, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Ya gotta wonder what's in that barn. Could be a '53 Corvette, could be a bunch of skeletons. Whatever's in there, you know its covered in spiders!
dave m December 10, 2013 at 09:50 AM
I would love to find out the owner and have them come over weekly and pick up the tattered tarp remnants off my lawn rake the leaves that blow over and then get rid of that blight once and for all. Im tired of looking at that eyesore on my street. Im sure the contractor that owns it wouldn't appreciate looking at it in front of his house why should we have to? Where are our government leaders? 15 years ? Enough already.
Mary December 10, 2013 at 10:26 AM
The only skeletons in there are dead raccoons. Multiple people from banks, people bidding on the house for the at least 3 auctions that I can think of, and town personnel before they boarded up have been through there. Thanks for trying, concerned citizen; I'm sure you would have been a much better neighbor.
rebecca December 17, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Actually, as per our conversation with the tax assessor yesterday, no one has paid the $15,000+ taxes in about 5 years. We were interested in fixing it.
Ed Horcrantz December 17, 2013 at 12:25 PM
5 years? Someone does not have their story straight. The town said they were current. Now the assessor says they are 5 years behind? Someone better tell the assessor to take another look or buy new glasses.

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