Zombie homes are a problem on Long Island. These vacant houses attract vagrants, rodents, and become blights in the community, dragging down property values and creating an unsafe environment. But, Towns across the Island only have so many people on staff to identify and begin the bureaucratic process necessary to eliminate these eyesores.
Recently, the Town of Oyster Bay unveiled a new program to help. The Town launched Abandoned Property/Zombie Home Registry, a new online initiative that allows residents to report abandoned properties in their neighborhoods.
“Protecting our suburban quality of life is a top priority for the Town Board,” said Oyster Bay Town Councilman Lou Imbroto, who serves as Chairman of the Town’s Quality of Life Taskforce. “No community should be forced to deal with unmaintained and dangerous eyesores that serve as havens for squatters, rodents and other such problems.”
He encouraged residents to serve as the eyes and ears of the community by using the new reporting system.
Zombie homes are described by the Town as properties that have been vacant for an extended period of time and are often owned by a bank, trust, or mortgage company. The Code Enforcement Bureau from the Department of Planning of Development continually monitors vacant properties, issues Notices of Violation against neglected properties, and takes action to clean up properties.
Once a property has been identified as abandoned or an eyesore, Code Enforcement Officers inspect the property to assess the property. The Town explores all possible avenues to spur the owner to rehabilitate the property. Once all options have been exhausted, the Town will seek legal remedies to demolish eyesore in the community.
“The objective of the Town’s Zombie Home Program is to ensure the Town of Oyster Bay continues to be a highly desirable community to live, work and raise a family,” added Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino. “Ultimately, if the property owner cannot keep it maintained, the goal of this initiative is to make way for new families and new homes after tearing down these zombie homes.”
The Town’s Abandoned Property/Zombie Home Registry was established under a grant provided through the New York State Housing Stabilization Fund. To report an abandoned property, click here.