North Patchogue half-acre illegally bulldozed
A few weeks ago, residents on a small dead-end off Old Medford Road in North Patchogue woke up to find several trees down on a half-acre of property situated on the corner of Katy Street.
The land, once full with trees and brush, served as a large buffer between Katy Street, Old Medford and Route 112, residents say. Even the back of the Route 112 shopping center that sits just south of where Route 112 splits into Old Medford couldn’t been seen through the trees.
John Banker, a 48-year resident who lives in his Katy Street home with his wife, said he initially assumed a few trees were being cleared to the west for a new home, a welcome addition, which would still leave a substantial amount of trees as a buffer. But then, he said, he woke up a few days later to the entire lot being cleared. When he asked the workmen what was happening, they said it was being cleared for a car storage lot. At that point, Banker reached out to the Town of Brookhaven supervisor’s office and, eventually, the law department.
According to the town, the Katy Street lot was cleared illegally and without a permit. The lot is currently zoned J2 retail, and would not allow for a storage facility. The town has filed a lawsuit against the current property owner, Shiny Properties based in East Meadow, who could not be reached for comment. The property owner is scheduled to appear in town court on Aug. 23 for clearing without a permit, property maintenance and operating without a site plan. Once in court, the town plans to pursue a mandatory cleanup and buffer to be replanted.
The land was sold to Shiny Properties by Andrew Aline in July 2017; before that, the property was privately owned by Aline since purchasing it in 1985. The property now sits stagnant with a For Sale sign; there are no trees, brush or stumps, just remaining trash and debris that continues to blow west down the dead-end onto the residents’ lawns. The property is being sold through Walsh & Young Commercial Real Estate. They also could not be reached for comment and their website does not cite the property under their current listings.
“For as long as I lived here the land was for sale. We knew the property owner, but no one was ever interested in it,” said Banker, referencing the new and unsightly vision of Route 112 and lack of a noise barrier since the trees were removed. “Those trees had to be at least 75 years old. There were hundreds of them — you couldn’t see 112 — and now they’re all gone.”
According to Banker, the owner of Alines Auto Group, Andy Aline, formerly owned the property. Coincidentally, his auto shop located just south on Route 112 was recently cleared as well. However, according to Aline employee Tim Healy, the owner was going to sell the auto shop but a deal fell through; he decided to stay in business and “re-vamp” after 48 years in business. He also said he knew nothing about the lot on Katy Street and did not confirm if Aline ever owned the property.
Bill McMillen is also a Katy Street resident, who has lived there for 38 years. He also confirmed that since the trees were cleared, the traffic is louder and debris continues to blow down the dead-end. He hopes to see a buffer planted and possibly even a zone change to accommodate the construction of a home.
“They should build a house. This street can’t handle a commercial building with traffic in and out,” added 38-year resident Ed Gorskie.
But still, “the damage is done,” Banker said, still hopeful to see a proper use on the property and a buffer replanted. “It’s depressing to look out our door.”
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