Dilapidated Homes Simply Cannot Be Bulldozed, Because Owner Is Unavailable

KINGS PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Residents in one Long Island community are at their wits end trying to get an eyesore cleaned up. They it’s been impossible to get any action from the property owner, because he’s “up the river.”

When you drive into King Park you’re greeted by a sight that is driving residents crazy.

“It’s a real eyesore. Who wants to open their blinds to this? No one wants to look at this every day,” neighbor Debbie Schaeffer told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Tuesday.

Schaeffer was referring to boarded up dilapidated homes.

“Look at it. Rocks thrown through windows, boarded up. It’s a disgrace,” neighbor Amy Keenan said.

The homes were built on spec about eight years ago, but never sold or occupied. Neighbors said the houses look like they’ve been rodents for years.

“No one can do anything,” neighbor Barbara Shepherd said, adding when asked if she’s complained to the town, “oh yes. We would call town hall and they would say ‘yes, we know.’”

Town of Smithtown officials have told neighbors there is a complication. The person who owns the homes is incarcerated.

The owner is indeed in federal prison. Frederic Powell from East Meadow is serving a four-year term for an unrelated fraud conviction. Without his consent the town can’t knock the houses down.

“It’s his property. If he were not incarcerated we could certainly drag him into court,” Smithtown Councilman Ed Wehrheim said.

But Powell is in prison so now the town attorney is trying another tactic: putting a tax lien on the house so that the county can take possession and refurbish the homes.

In the meantime the homes are surrounded by broken fencing that anyone can simply walk around and neighbors say vandals often do. They have no preference for which solution the town pursues, as long as something is done.

An attorney for the imprisoned owner of the homes could not be reached.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below. …

More From CBS New York

Download Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE