Saturday, March 30, 2019

Man's house torn down while he was in Florida


From NBC:

A law in New York’s biggest town allows the town to demolish homes deemed “dangerous” or “abandoned” — and it is affecting hundreds of people.

“This was the lot,” Phil Williams said as he stood in an empty yard in the West Hempstead neighborhood he once called home. “And as you can see, there is nothing left.”

Williams went to Florida in December 2014 for knee surgery. When he returned months later in August, his house was gone.

“I bought the house from my dad in 1974,” Williams recalled. “My wife and I lived there. We had six children that lived in the house.”

The Town of Hempstead tore down Williams’ house according to Chapter 90 of town law.

It’s a law that allows building inspectors to identify and demolish structures that they deem are dangerous or abandoned. Currently, the town is dealing with 850 open Chapter 90 cases.

The town’s definition of dangerous is defined, in part, as something that is "…unsafe structurally, or a fire hazard or a nuisance to the general public."

"The house was not a danger. It’s just a ridiculous statement," Williams said.

It wasn’t just the house that was a loss for Williams, though. Decades worth of personal belongings and memories — all of them, gone.

Now, he is taking the town to court.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

So many questions......

Pics of the house do make it look unstable/unsafe.

Where were the neighbors? Where were the six kids he raised in that house? 45 years in the house and no one will check on it for him?

He didn't have his mail checked for 9 months?

Who owned the house? Was his mortgage paid off? Was he paying his taxes?

Glaring lack of info, this puff piece is just to get people upset at the town of Hempstead.

For the second story: the best that family can do is a 30 year old pic? He was evicted? Not the town's fault, that would be the mortgage lender/bank. If they can make the mortgage up to date and then come in and fix the structural problems let them do it, not just complain.

Always disappointing what passes for 'journalism' these days.

georgetheatheist said...

What?! He forgot to set the timers for the radio and light?

Anonymous said...

Wow, this doesn't even qualify as Queens Crap since it's Nassau but definitely a crappy situation. How dare they?? And in only a few months time?? Since when does government work that fast????

georgetheatheist said...

How come Phil Williams had to go all the way to Florida for that knee surgery?

Tommy Efreeti said...

I enjoy seeing our readership's critical thinking skills on display.

If the evicted man had issues, why was someone within his family not appointed as a responsible guardian to look after his home's upkeep etc? As Anon¹ said, he had plenty of siblings...to the vet's issue, say he went down to another state for lower medical costs, sure OK that happens all the time, but shouldn't he have been aware of his town's regulations and prepared accordingly?

Say he couldn't afford the necessary upkeep, which is a common enough reason - well at least "do up" the front enough to avoid attracting official attention then. For any municipality to show up and raze a place to the ground, either conditions were really, really bad, or somebody deemed the place abandoned for lack of correspondence, records of utility/tax payment, etc.

From an older article:

"The town tore down the two-story cottage after neighbors complained. Officials said the home violated the town's code and was dilapidated."

From another article from the same source:

"Williams, a veteran, says his mortgage, tax and utility bills had all been paid, but the town came in anyway and demolished his house without notifying him.

The town of Hempstead says the structure of the home posed a danger to the public. Williams says it was only a couple of holes in the siding.

The town also says it followed proper notification procedures and sent documents to Williams. Williams says he never pays attention to his mail and does all his billing electronically. He also admits he never forwarded his mail while in Florida.


Seems like if you're gonna be away for a few months that is not something you should ignore. I don't think the guy deserved to have his house razed over it, but for such a drastic action as a complete to-the-ground razing to be justified then the underlying issues are either being exaggerated on the town's side or severely underplayed on his own.

Anonymous said...

Horrible story. But in all fairness the house was in obvious disrepair, even in that old picture. If your packing a bag and leaving for a half a year, it'd be a good idea to forward your mail to your new location, or at very least have someone check your mail. The house looked abandoned, even in the old pictures, and the town likely had decades of complaints on it. This was likely an on-going situation for the homeowner, and he left town ignoring it, to come back to no house. People pay very high taxes in that area, they don't want to look at your zombie home. Sad, but need to hear the entire story.