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Apr 14, 2009 5:04 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Town plans to clean up White's yard, again

Apr 14, 2009 5:04 PM

East Hampton Town officials on Tuesday said they would give Springs resident Rian White 10 days to clean up his yard or they would have it done themselves.

Last January, an East Hampton Town Justice Court jury found Mr. White guilty of littering on his own property, and Justice Lisa R. Rana fined him $5,000. But town officials say his yard is still a mess. A bathtub sits in front of his house, near where a 6-foot statue of a smiling hot dog once stood. The statue has been moved to the back of the house, but old cars, boat parts, and construction debris also cover the property.

Neighbors have been complaining for years that the property, which runs from Fanning to Hodder avenues, is a fire and health hazard and that its appearance has discouraged potential renters and possibly lowered property values. At Mr. White’s sentencing in March, three neighbors asked town officials to clean up his yard, as asking Mr. White to pay a fine would not resolve the problem.

The town sent a crew in October 2007 to clean the yard after East Hampton code enforcement officers charged him with three violations for having so much debris and materials scattered and stashed about his property. At that time, about 15 code enforcement and public works officials, police officers, and workers from Mickey’s Carting arrived, milled about for half an hour and left, unsure of what or what not to take.

This time around, Councilman Pete Hammerle said that the board will send an outside contractor to do the job, instead of relying on its own employees. “We’re trying to take the emotion and localness out of it,” Mr. Hammerle said. “If they want to get paid, they have to do the job.”

Mr. White will be expected to pay for the work, but Mr. Hammerle said that “it’ll be assessed against the property taxes, since the guy doesn’t even intend to pay his fines.”

Mr. White has filed a notice of appeal with the Suffolk County Supreme Court challenging his guilty verdict and has asked Legal Aid to take on his cause.

Madeleine Narvilas, the assistant town attorney who prosecuted the case, said that even on the morning of the trial in January, she had said to Mr. White that if he wanted to plead guilty to the charges and simply clean up his yard, she would have recommended that the court not fine him.

Then, at the sentencing after Mr. White was found guilty, she offered a fine of only $1,000 if he agreed to clean up his yard within around 30 days. “He absolutely did not want to consider that as a possibility,” Ms. Narvilas said.

Ms. Narvilas said the town code legally provides recourse for the town to clean up Mr. White’s yard.

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Excuse me but we (us locals)were here first and then the cityiots came and changed the rules.
If they don't like what they see they can go back to whereth from they came.
By Boomer (6), southampton on Apr 14, 09 5:36 PM
We would comment on this if we knew we could spell "detritus."
By we could run this town! (129), wonderful Wainscott on Apr 15, 09 9:23 AM
are we going to waste taxpayers moneys on cleaning up a yard?because of neighbors complaining?what about the messy yards where the neighbors do not complain?if everyone gets together and picks out a messy yard and complains we can have the whole town cleaned up.by the time this is over it wil have cost the taxpayers 10's of thousands.
By pinga (90), hamptonbays on Apr 19, 09 8:22 AM