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Town Cracks Down on Off-Campus Rooming House

Recent changes to town code to define the term "family" have yielded results in at least one case.

The Town of Brookhaven's Quality of Life Task Force announced Wednesday it has worked with two homeowners to quickly bring another illegal rooming house in Setauket back within town code as a single-family home.

"Illegal, overcrowded rental housing is a detriment to the quality of life in many neighborhoods, and fortunately in this case, we had an owner who did the right thing for the community," Brookhaven town supervisor Ed Romaine said in a statement.

Town inspectors arrived at 82 Krispin Ln., a two-story colonial on the end of a cul-de-sac, to find nine college students living in seven bedrooms with individual key locks. Additionally, they found that the entire front yard of the house had been paved over for parking for multiple cars.

In the Town’s ongoing fight against illegal overcrowded rental housing, the town recently passed a measure that redefined the word "family" within the town code, and placed the burden of proof of those family relationships on the homeowner.

“It initially appeared that the property owners were in violation of the Town’s definition of ‘family,'" Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld said. "Thanks to the new law, we were able to prove that the residents living inside the house were indeed not the equivalent of a traditional family. This was clearly an illegal rooming house and we certainly weren’t going to allow it to continue as such."

In November, Law Department officials served the homeowners with five appearance tickets, including two misdemeanors. According to the town, the homeowners then contacted town officials to pledge their full compliance with town codes. According to the town, when the semester ended the students moved out of the house so a contractor could come and restore the house to its previous configuration. In January, Law Department inspectors confirmed the homeowners were again in compliance with single-family codes.

After the case was resolved, neighbors along Krispin Lane were relieved to know they wouldn't see many strange cars frequently speeding down the block, which is home to several families with young children.

"I really hope they keep it this way, get a nice tenant in there, and keep the property up," said Sue French, a resident since 1986, who also said she thought "the town did a great job getting it done."

The homeowners do have an active rental permit for the home. They have listed it on Craigslist as a four-bedroom home available for $2,600 per month, not including utilities. The homeowners declined to comment for this story.

“Thanks to the quick work of our Law Department, the stalwart diligence of the residents on Krispin [Lane] and the willingness of the landlord to comply with our Town Code, we have been able to turn a bad situation into something good,” Fiore-Rosenfeld said.

Christine Sampson February 07, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Hi Michael, The definition of "family" is a lengthy one within Brookhaven Town Code - too lengthy to include in a comment here. If you click the hyperlink in the fourth paragraph in this story, you'll get some background info from a previous Patch story, and there are two hyperlinks in THAT story that will take you directly to the town code pages concerning "family." I hope this is helpful? Best, Christine
Moe Szyslak February 07, 2013 at 08:07 PM
If we're aware of homes like this one in our neighborhood, what are the steps needed to get it investigated?
Christine Sampson February 07, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Hi Moe, At past meetings of the Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook, where this topic has come up numerous times, members of the town government have said the best way to get the process started is by calling the town's law department. David Moran can be reached at 451-6510 and Paul Degen can be reached at 451-6538. I hope this is helpful? Best, Christine
Steve February 10, 2013 at 04:42 PM
When are they going to crack down on illegal apts altogether its costing me money and the renter is paying less I see no difference between 1 or 8 renters
tea March 26, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Seems to be only 3V, town says it is all of BROOKHAVEN but we all know it is not Centereach,Selden,Coram,Rocky Point etc will not be affected.Mr.Degan said, this years ago.3V Taxes $15,000/20,000,mortgages off the wall.Students/ Staff of USB that live on campus PAY NO SCHOOLTAXES.1990 3 V district said it was costing the district over 1.5milion to educated these children,WHAT in 2013.The school district says this is ok, we get other perks.(this is what they told you,also.) No we the homeowners get no perks HUGE taxes.Intell/westinghouse.We have few if any Einstein's,The work is being done by PHD and profs,BH labs.A new Science lab at Ward Melville,bonds put on our school taxes.Teachers overpaid.WHY? Go bare to the bones on all school situations,allow homeowners to pay for all the extras student's get.Drop the taxes like other states.Pay for your OWN children's perks.EDUCATION WAS TO BE FREE,not abused. The old one room school's educated our children well.The 3R's,not gym,art,music,pool etc.Go to the Religious schools get NO PERKS,SUPER education.Buses and after school activities allow the students/ parents to pay for them. Other districts pay $5000 or less. I lived out of state and my children got a SUPER education and far less drugs and liquor.$1,000 per year.Original homeowners can't afford taxes,,Let NYS USB pay their taxes.The high and mighty NEW homeowners.Let them pay for what they want, not all the rest of us. GET CONTROL.Houses down in value TAXES.

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