After Months, Flanders Residents Get Answers To Code Enforcement Questions

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Members of the Bay View Pines Civic and Taxpayers Association were frustrated well before their meeting even began on Friday night.

They shared that they’re tired of seeing trash littering the sides of their roads and houses falling into disrepair. In particular, they were annoyed that no one at Southampton Town Hall had responded to the complaints that they submitted over the summer pertaining to 10 properties in the hamlet that they think should be investigated by the town’s code enforcement division.

Group members said they did not receive a response until Friday’s meeting, when Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera, Assistant Town Attorney Kara Bak and Code Enforcement Officer Christopher Fraser addressed their concerns.

Mr. Fraser went through the list of properties—which included four houses on Longneck Boulevard, two on Flanders Road, two on Glen Avenue, and one each on Mood and Nash avenues—and gave updates on the status of each. He said that, in some instances, the properties had been investigated and the owners issued tickets or notices. Mr. Fraser said others are still open investigations because the owner of the property could not be found to be presented with a summons. In some instances, his officers found no violations—a point that was disputed by those in attendance.

He also explained that his department, which only has seven officers to investigate such complaints, issued about 100 tickets and 300 notices of violation in the hamlets or Riverside and Flanders alone since May. The $88.5 million town budget just proposed by Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst would permit the hiring of one additional code enforcement officer—assuming the spending plan is approved intact.

“We investigate anything from littering to overcrowding to building code violations and environmental codes,” Mr. Fraser said, noting that his department also handles all of the town’s rental permits. “We try the best we can.”

Ms. Bak explained that she is working with landlords and homeowners to bring all of the properties into compliance with the town code, later pointing out that she has won five such cases since May.

After their presentation, members of the organization seemed more at ease with the status of the houses in question.

“Frustrations have lessened since they’ve communicated with us about what their process is,” said Tim Ganetis, treasurer of Bay View Pines Civic and Taxpayers Association and a homeowner in Flanders, when reached Monday. “We’re very happy about how things are being handled. But we’d like to see more communication with the civic associations at least.”

Janice Young, president of the organization, agreed. “I was encouraged by the meeting, especially by the quick feedback about specific properties that we got from Officer Frasier,” she wrote in an email. “However, it is still hard to be patient, especially for people who are already discouraged, concerned about their own safety and affected daily by living close to these problem properties.”

Pointing to the work being done by Mr. Fraser’s office, Mr. Ganetis said he feels better about the future of the hamlet and hopes that the few run-down houses do not continue to ruin the appearance of his neighborhood.

“There are many [rental homes] with quality tenants that are part of the community,” he said. “But then you have these nightmare scenarios where 5 percent of properties gives you 50 percent of the impression of the area.”

On Friday, members of the association pressed for more information about one troublesome property: 215 Longneck Boulevard in Flanders. A tarp is draped across a large portion of the house’s roof, and all of the doors and windows are boarded up.

The listed owner of the property, Fred Powell, is currently serving time in Suffolk County Jail for an undisclosed offense, according to Mr. Fraser and Ms. Scalera. The person who will be representing Mr. Powell in court has been issued a summons, Mr. Fraser said.

“It took us a while to track down an actual owner,” Ms. Scalera said. “That’s the trouble with a lot of these rentals … the owners are in other states, or it takes us a while to find them.”

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