A vacant property on Verity Lane in Baldwin that local residents say had been used as a dumping yard for more than a year has been cleaned up.
The private property, near Verity Lane and Grand Avenue, had been partially covered by piles of debris and trash, but was cleared as of last week.
For months, dozens of residents took to social media to share their concerns about the site, and it became a quality-of-life issue. The parcel is in the middle of a residential area.
John Cools, commissioner of Baldwin’s Sanitary District No. 2, had attempted to correct the situation by making calls to one of the property owners. Cools then notified State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach, who stepped in and contacted the property owners, urging them to clean up the land and remove the trash.
“His office really spearheaded it and made it happen,” Cools said of Kaminsky, adding that his own calls were fruitless.
The property has been vacant for about 12 years, Cools said, after the previous owners sold it to a developer who neighbors said had planned to build townhouses in the space. That never happened.
“Somebody was just taking advantage of the fact that it was empty,” Cools said of whoever had been dumping on the grounds.
Cars, an old boat, an abandoned billboard ad and filled dumpsters could be seen on the grounds, as well as cut-up logs, along with other debris.
Members of the Town of Hempstead Building De-partment had visited the site, neighbors said, and they noted that the vehicles park-ed on the property were registered, but they said there was nothing they could do.
Cools contacted Kaminsky about four months ago. Kaminsky also heard from other constituents who shared concerns and called the property an “eyesore.”
He said he called the owners on the phone, explained the issue within the community, and then worked with a lawyer for one of the owners over a period of months to have the property slowly cleaned up.
The vacant field consists of two separate properties, although the property line is unclear. The debris has since been cleared.
“Baldwin is nobody’s dumping ground, and turning a property in our community into a garbage bin is hazardous to our health and environment,” Kaminsky said. “Following my calls to the owners, I’m glad to see that the [debris] has been removed and the lot has been cleaned. Baldwin residents deserve nothing less.”
Hempstead Town Councilman Chris Carini said the property has been a troubling area for the Building Department for years. The property owners were issued multiple summonses, requiring them to appear in district court.
There is also a major backlog on the court system because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Carini added.
Town officials cannot enter, remove or clean items on the property unless the court states so as part of its decision. The outcome, including fines, is set by the court.
Kaminsky told residents that he would continue to work with the owners to ensure that the property does not slide back into its former condition.