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N.Y. Post Story Tipped Off Code Enforcement

Thu, 09/28/2023 - 21:10
Christine Sampson

One day before the East Hampton Town Board held a public hearing on a proposed change to its zoning code intended to address structures and improvements made without building permits, a statement from Town Hall announced just such code violations at the Montauk Shores mobile home park. 

“Modest home in tony Hamptons trailer park asks a record-breaking $4.4M” was the breathless headline in the Aug. 28 issue of The New York Post. While the report focused on the modular structure’s asking price, it “drew the attention of” public safety officials, according to the town’s Sept. 20 statement. 

The Post article included pictures taken from the property’s listing on the real estate website Zillow, some of which depict an attic with four beds and a staircase leading to it. Town officials noted those “interior photos depicting an attic-floor bedroom that was apparently installed without permits,” according to the statement. 

The property’s owner, identified as Kenneth D. Hildebrandt of Patchogue, “was issued a warning of a town code violation,” citing habitable sleeping area in the attic and the addition of full stairs. Mr. Hildebrandt was given two weeks to remove the beds from the attic and replace the staircase installed without a permit with pull-down attic stairs, and to “submit building plans for the desired changes along with an application for a town-issued certificate of occupancy.” 

Property owners are required to submit building plans for review by the Building Department, and post-construction inspections are required before a certificate of occupancy will be issued. This, the town’s statement reads, is to safeguard public safety by ensuring that construction and renovation comply with New York State and town building and fire codes. 

Last Thursday, the town board heard public comment on a proposed code amendment that would require certificates of occupancy to be updated upon transfers of ownership, as neighboring municipalities require, a change aimed at reining in noncompliant improvements to residential property. That public hearing is covered elsewhere in this issue. 

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