Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith was joined by members of the Town Board, code enforcement agents, the fire marshal, and the town attorney in announcing on March 26 a major effort to bring downtown buildings up to code and make these properties safe.
More than 100 citations for alleged violations were issued to properties in the downtown area. It was the first time in 10 years that the buildings had been inspected.
“This is a safety issue, plain and simple. It is remarkable that these buildings have been allowed to go uninspected for 10 years,” said Jens-Smith in a press release. “Especially as we are trying to revitalize our downtown, it is important that we know that there are safe buildings for businesses to move into. I want to thank the owners who have already acted to remedy the situation. The town would like to work together with the property owners to come into compliance and we will be taking all necessary options to ensure that they do so. It is time that Riverhead reclaims its downtown.”
The effort was part of the supervisor’s code enforcement action strategy, undertaken to tackle code violations in a systematic way to the benefit of the community.
“All properties inspected received deficiency notices with ‘comply by’ dates,” said town investigator Rich Downs. “A handful of properties have already done work to remediate the deficiencies, others which have failed to remediate or communicate a plan have been sent ‘order to remedy notices.’”
“As our community works toward downtown revitalization, it is imperative that blighted properties come into compliance,” said Deputy Supervisor Catherine Kent. “Blighted, vacant properties have long plagued our Main Street. We would like potential businesses to feel confident and safe when they are thinking of investing in this beautiful town.”
The effort was the result of organized action, and bi-weekly meetings the supervisor holds with the town’s code enforcement department, fire marshal’s office, police chief, and town attorney’s office.