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Jul 4, 2012 9:39 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Inspectors Issue More Than 100 Violations At Converted Motel Properties In Hampton Bays

Jul 4, 2012 10:09 AM

Mr. Pike, Mr. Tallides and Ms. Kokolis all have the opportunity to bring their properties back into compliance before the final adjudication is scheduled and the fines determined, according to Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato. She noted that the owners will be brought back to court on a regular basis to update the town on their progress in correcting the violations, with the possibility of lessening the fines if they are able to fix them in a timely manner.

Ms. Scarlato said the town is interested in working with the owners to address the issues and takes great pains to not harm the families who are living in the former motels. “We don’t want to harm anyone in the process,” she said.

Ms. Scarlato also explained that the owners will have a hard time securing the proper permits to legally change their units from temporary motel rooms to year-round residences—if they ever attempt to do that—as the buildings have been used for a number of years. Instead, she said it would be easier for them to bring the units back into compliance with the town’s transiency regulations by allowing residents to rent the rooms for only a maximum of 30 days at a time. Ms. Scarlato added that the property owners must prove that the people they are renting rooms to are not dwelling there permanently, and that the town never forcibly removes tenants.

When reached this week, Assistant Town Attorney Kara Bak said she would not comment on the three cases, or say how long the town has been aware of the violations. She said the town’s ultimate goal is compliance and, when that does not happen, the town takes the property owners to court.

Town code enforcement officers and fire marshals have been criticized by local church and immigrant advocacy groups, as well as certain community members, for their handling of the predawn inspections. Representatives of the advocacy groups have charged that the town is unfairly targeting poor Latino families, and that the predawn raids are harassing and scaring those who are forced to rent the converted motel rooms—charges that, again, have been denied by Mr. Betts. “We do our best to minimize the impact on everybody,” he said.

Mr. Betts added that it is his office’s obligation to respond to complaints about possible code violations and, more important, protect residents from dangerous living conditions. He said it is necessary to conduct the inspections when all occupants of a home are present.

“We walk a tightrope between needing to enforce our code while certainly not wanting to do any undue harm, and we try to balance that as best we can,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, adding that the inspections are held to punish the landlords, not the tenants. “We need to enforce our code. There’s a very small window in a 24-hour period where the officers can do that in a way that will be effective.”

Still, Sylvia Baruch, the founder of Neighbors in Support of Immigrants, an advocacy organization in Hampton Bays, said residents of the converted motels are being victimized twice—first by the landlords, and then by the code enforcement officers.

“We don’t want anyone to live in unsafe and unhealthy housing, but we do feel that there are more sensitive and humane ways to proceed with code enforcement,” she said. “The immigrant population, some of whom are undocumented, need a special kind of care.”

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By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 6, 12 8:55 AM
27east Editor:

Why do you keep referring to the inspections by Code Enforcement as "raids"? The definition for "raid" does not represent what occured. Code Enforcement officers aren't even armed. This is poor journalism on your part
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 6, 12 9:11 AM
3 members liked this comment
Don't be foolish. It's not "poor journalism", and it's not an accident.

It's part of a deliberate campaign to gin up sympathy for illegal immigrants, and support the continued importation of Latin America's poverty.

Now that every illegal immigrant under 30 will be made legal ("Yes, I swear my parents brought me here when I was 15"), every left leaning newspaper is running sob stories about 31 year old illegal aliens.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jul 6, 12 9:43 AM
When I first read this...

"code enforcement officers slapped Stella Kokolis of Hampton Bays, the owner of a converted motel located at 329 East Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, "

I thought a code enforcement officer slapped someone...that wouldn't be good. Surely a different word or sentence structure could be used! LOL
By bb (907), Hampton Bays on Jul 7, 12 2:03 PM
So right, Reality. Break out the tissues..
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on Jul 6, 12 10:01 AM
If Sylvia Baruch is so concerned, maybe she should meet with the immigrant families and explain to them what the laws are about housing and have them either speak to the landlords or report the landlords so taxpayers money doesn't have to be wasted on these early morning inspections. Until then, they will keep on getting inspected and you will have to deal with it because it is the law.
By Flannery66 (9), Hampton Bays on Jul 6, 12 11:10 AM
3 members liked this comment
Close these death traps down now! Really getting tired of the bleeding hearts who think illegals have "rights" to be in overcrowded and unsafe housing, and when Town Enforcement does their job it's "harrasment".
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Jul 6, 12 11:56 AM
3 members liked this comment
Safety is the issue. The inspections, which are tax payer funded, are for keeping
the absentee landlords and the rental housing safe!! STOP calling them "raids"
they are safety issues and Code Enforcement should be thanked and not
demonized for your political reasons!
By East Ender (64), Southampton on Jul 6, 12 12:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
God forbit there was a tragedy at one of these establishments, the same people who are criticizing the Code Enforcement would be blaming them and holding the Town responsible. You can't have it both ways.

The Code Enforcement has a job to to. They are protecting the residents as well as neighbors who are affected by the problems. As far as targeting illegals, the OWNERS are responsible. Are they targeted because they are illegal?

The fines should be raised. Clearly the money ...more
By bb (907), Hampton Bays on Jul 7, 12 2:08 PM
2 members liked this comment
Sylvia Baruch stated, "The immigrant population, some of whom are undocumented, need a special kind of care."

I believe what she means is "a different standard in our society to which they should be held." Treat them all the same as my family would be treated if we were to be in violation of the law.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Jul 6, 12 1:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
Special care??? Im a single mother working two jobs, no child support and paying taxes! Wheres MY special care? Maybe the church will help me pay for fuel oil in winter or school supplies in Sept....please. Because I work on the books and show income I dont qualify..I want special care!
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Jul 6, 12 3:53 PM
It's a tragedy that people like you, who are doing the right thing can't get assistance, while illegal aliens soak up taxpayer dollars.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jul 6, 12 8:17 PM
2 members liked this comment
Maybe Sylvia could explain the unhealthy and unsafe conditions to these "special care people" The town should do everything in there power to bring these units up to code and not be critizied for doing there job.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 6, 12 4:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why are these 3 places still open?: The owners have known they have been operating illegally. They are putting the residents and first responders (if there is a problem) at risk.Can't a priority be put on this and close these places.
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Jul 6, 12 6:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
ya we don't need these 3 places anymore! We have a town sanctioned hell hole on west Tiana that can fill the quota of miscreants ATH wants us to carry
By joe hampton (3395), south hampton on Jul 8, 12 1:13 AM
Considering that this property is adjacent to Fresh Water Wetlands the fuel oil leaking into the ground should be of the utmost concern. Have the DEC and/or EPA been contacted?

Hope the fines are sufficient to act as a catalyst for change. Hey Justice Court, how about no plea bargain on these 138 violations unless they are all addressed prior to any deal!

By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 7, 12 8:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well now the libs will call us racists if the problem is overcrowding of illegal immigrants but touch the environment... you may be on to something!
By jams (128), hampton bays on Jul 10, 12 3:11 PM
2 members liked this comment
Immigrant -a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

See that Sylvia Baruch? The above definition contains the word permanently. For you to assert that every border hopper is here to make the American Dream happen is sickening. Take the case of Marcelo Lucero the Ecuadorean "immigrant" who was stabbed to death in Patchogue. He was no immigrant, he was a low level economic terrorist who sent most of his paycheck home to Ecuador to build his own McMansion in "HIS" country. ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 7, 12 8:46 AM
2 members liked this comment
Special Care should be packed on a bus and driven back to whatever banana republic they came from. Good riddance.
By Babyboo (292), Hampton Bays on Jul 7, 12 1:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
Who is Sylvia Baruch? and what Church in Hampton Bays is she affeliated with,if she is speaking for St Rosalies the I think its time to hear from Fr Sheradon the Pastor,what are his views on Code Inforcement as it relates to deplorable and dangerous condetions at these shacks,,,is CPS involved? they should be,how are they adressing child indagerment.
By Etians rd (541), Southampton on Jul 7, 12 5:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sylvia Baruch, the founder of Neighbors in Support of Immigrants

I do not see where there is any church affilation
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 8, 12 2:44 PM
Oh those poor immigrants lets give them special treatment for breaking the law.
Nine years ago I rented a three bedroom house in Hampton Bays to a hispanic man and woman and their one baby. Within two months they were renting each bedroom to a seperate family who they said were temporary for $1,000 each month. Then they rented the basement which was unfinished too five men who were laborers for $ 400 each. So they were collecting $ 4,000 and paying me $1,200and basically destroyed the house ...more
By chief1 (2768), southampton on Jul 8, 12 9:01 PM
4 members liked this comment
The more I read about these problems my attitude has changed from one of indifference to one that something must be done. Police and Code Enforcement should do everything legal to enforce our current rules. Landlords should be fined for overcrowding, employers should be fined for hiring illegals, and illegals should be jailed as soon as they break one of our laws. We have made it too easy for illegals to stay here which we can no longer afford.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 10, 12 2:20 PM
2 members liked this comment
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