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Feb 22, 2011 6:14 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Town Will Investigate Charges Of Code Violations At Springs Home

Feb 22, 2011 6:14 PM

A house on Copeces Lane in Springs that has drawn complaints in recent years from nearby residents regarding noise and overcrowding is now being investigated by East Hampton Town officials for possible zoning violations.

For several years, residents of 30 Copeces Lane have been up in arms about the home, owned by Ramon and Jasmine Leon, because they say there are too many people living in the 
home, too many cars parked on the property and street, loud volleyball games, excessive noise, and debris found near the home.

David Buda, a member of the Springs Concerned Citizens, said Monday that the home in question was at one point “the most glaring example” of illegal overcrowded housing in Springs—a subject that has drawn sharp debate among local residents and lawmakers at town meetings in recent weeks.

This week, Mr. Buda submitted several photographs to The Press, as well as to town officials, illustrating numerous cars parked in the rear of the Copeces Lane home last Thursday—at least 11 at one point, he said. 
He demanded that the town investigate the home for overcrowding or other code violations.

“It has been an ongoing situation since I’ve lived here for 10 years,” he said. “There are excessive cars parked in that lot.”

The Leons were unavailable for comment this week, according to three men working outside the residence on Monday. The men declined to comment on the home or its residents, and referred all questions to the Leons, who they said were out of town.

The town’s director of code enforcement, Elizabeth A. Bambrick, confirmed Tuesday that her department had started an investigation of the Copeces Lane home in light of “complaints received,” but declined to comment further on the subject. “I can’t discuss any of the details on it,” she said. “We opened a new case and it is under investigation, and I can’t discuss this any further.”

Among Mr. Buda’s concerns are that the cars at the Copeces Lane home serve as an indication of an excessive number of people using a single-family house, which is a violation of zoning laws—and could lower property values throughout the neighborhood.

While acknowledging that he does not have any “personal knowledge” of the property, or how many people actually live there, Mr. Buda said the home “just illustrates that if there is no enforcement of zoning codes, things get out of hand.”

Several neighbors declined to comment on the situation due to a fear of reprisal.

One neighbor, who asked not to be identified for similar reasons, said that police had been called to the property in previous years due to excessive 
noise and loud music at all hours of the day, and at one point cars were lined along 
the entire length of Copeces Lane due to volleyball games held on the property.

Karen Pardini, who lives next to the home, said that she had experienced issues with ongoing construction at the Leons’ property last summer. During that time, she said, the Leon family was expanding the driveway and had posted a sign asking her to move a mailbox at her home in order to create more space.

“I spoke to the father, and he told me he had a building permit,” she noted.

However, after complaints from another neighbor, building inspectors stopped by the home and construction ceased, Ms. Pardini said. Ms. Bambrick declined to comment on any past issues at the house.

No recent issues have arisen regarding the home in question, Ms. Pardini added, however, she is concerned about the effect that overcrowded housing is having on local taxes, which she said have doubled for her 
household in the last four 

“I realize that it’s a lot of factors involved, but you want to know whether this is because overcrowded housing is illegal or not,” she said, adding that the issue was simply a quality of life issue to her.

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the silence on this article is deafening
By uncleronk (136), southold on Feb 23, 11 9:26 AM
Time to make some noise, uncleronk. Count me in
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on Feb 23, 11 10:14 AM
And how many YEARS has this property been running this racket - 10 YEARS??? Come on, it seems the Town waited way too long, even after being handed this information on a silver platter. Code Enforcement dragged it's feet & stalled for years. It's time the Neighbors take the situation into their own hands to flush these people out. These Landlords should be jailed.
11 + cars, loud soccer games and drinking at night, garbage & debris and an unknown number of people living there sounds like a ...more
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Feb 23, 11 11:50 AM
These Landlords need to Walk The Plank..........the town inspectors should seize the house and turn it into something good for the community.
By AARGHHH (12), Hamptons on Feb 23, 11 12:17 PM
Only 11 cars? They should see the house across the street from me (and it is not in Springs)- we are talking 15-17 cars, some of which are big diesel work trucks, skidsteer, etc. People coming and going all day and night, the house was ransacked at one point (oh I wonder why?!) Several complaints over the last few years to the building department and not a single thing was done about it!
By Harbor at Heart (12), East Hampton on Feb 23, 11 12:19 PM
Harbor at Heart: reporting this to the Building Dept. was not the way to go - Town Code Enforcement should get this and all other tips. Call, write or go see them in person. How about calling Immigration to come investigate? Bet they'll be on it a lot quicker. How can you possibly want to live across the street from something like this?
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Feb 23, 11 12:29 PM
Here's what you do.. take pictures and hand deliver to code enforcement with copies to all Board members. Include the name of the landlord. That info can be learned at town assessor's office.

Someone with web savvy should start a website showing the images, addresses and landlord's name.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 23, 11 12:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
Not a bad idea, harbor. We have some of that nonsense going on here but no one wants to do anything for fear of being called 'racist.'
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on Feb 23, 11 1:01 PM
I don't think your being racist for reporting a violation of the town code. Especially when they are so egregious. Your complaining about the overcrowding and disturbances and not necessarily about the people. I think the Town Code and Board can work on that basis.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Feb 23, 11 1:33 PM
It's racist to assume that hard-working Latino homeowners aren't also fed up with overcrowded houses and schools. Their taxes go up and kids suffer in school too. The issue is code enforcement. The town board for some reason just doesn't have the guts to take on the issue. If the problem isn't resolved now, wait till the local economy picks up and all hell will break loose.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 23, 11 1:56 PM
Right on Bee. God Forbid you should even want to talk about this publicly or address this to authorities - everyone starts calling you "racist". I'm getting tired of this. This is about quality of life, safety and security in our neighborhoods. Take a drive Up Island west and see what Hempsted looks like now; this is what East Hampton could soon become like if this kind of rampant ghetto growth is allowed to take place now. Many of my friends have already sold their property and moved away because ...more
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Feb 23, 11 2:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
One slum house down, quite a few more to go. I'm glad residents were finally able to work together to get the ball rolling, as it was long, long overdue. But, Now is better than Never. Go SPG!
By YesYesBub (58), East Hampton on Feb 23, 11 2:46 PM
[expletive deleted] "politically correct".
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 23, 11 3:11 PM
All but a handful of towns have been reluctant to enforce zoning laws on homes converted into illegal apartments.

A decade ago, the issue was, and still is, the dearth of reasonably priced rental housing. An illegal one bedroom apartment in Mastic can go for $1300-$1500 a month. A family making $40,000-$50,000 would see more than half their net income going towards rent.

The extremely overcrowded (with bed sharing) illegal housing is a fairly recent development that's spreading ...more
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Feb 23, 11 5:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Or, if you allow for the "top end" to be rampantly out of control, basing their "fortunes" on funds no worthier than Monopoly money.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 23, 11 9:09 PM
The rich don't own these crummy properties, nor are they trying to rent them.

The rich aren't behind the enormous property taxes that are one of the main drivers of high rental costs. If anything, it's single family housing coverted into illegal apartments packed with lots of kids. Ten kids in one house cost approximately $180,000 per year to educate, in a property that might have $8,000 in school taxes.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Feb 24, 11 8:45 AM
Maybe not.

They are responsible for the enormous housing prices, however...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 25, 11 12:26 PM
Latinos sick of overcrowded schools??????????????? Really??????
By Biba (566), East Hampton on Feb 23, 11 9:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is a start. We will see if this is political fluff or the beginning of a real town-wide crack down on this. There are many more obvious ilegal residencies.
By reality 101 (137), East Hampton on Feb 23, 11 9:17 PM
Be carefull! It sounds like harrasement and persecution!!!
The world is full of violence! And this a litle too violent !!!
Let's find the right way to fix what has to be fix!
Tlgether we can build a better Community.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
By Palo. (3), east hampton on Feb 23, 11 9:20 PM
It's neither harassment nor persecution to enforce town codes. It is irresponsible and unfair to allow overcrowding and code violations to go unchecked. These problems never fix themselves and only escalate. These are the types of things that hurt property values and destroy quality of life.
By double standard (1506), quogue on Feb 24, 11 1:40 PM
OK how do you propose this gets fixed? I dont get where you are getting this violence idea. That is not the intention at all, at least not mine.
By reality 101 (137), East Hampton on Feb 23, 11 9:36 PM
for fact they ran a hair salon out of the house 4-5 years ago with a OPEN sign in the window. they got in trouble for that. then they moved the parking lot and the LIGHTED volleyball court behind the house so that no one would see it from the street. then the construction....and..ohhh..how about the numerous tarped roof outbuildings. lets get real officials, enforce the laws!
By tito (56), e hampton on Feb 23, 11 10:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
you don't have to be a genius to figure out why town officials waited two years to take on this issue..November elections. Who from Springs will support any candidate who isn't willing to meaningfully enforce existing codes? Continued political pressure is the only effective strategy. Good start is that a Springs resident has declared he is running for town board.

By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 24, 11 6:59 AM
Hey - Harbor Genius - is your sense of time, space, AND MATH a little "OFF" or "BEHIND"? This Board has held office for 13 months - not 2 years. But it's a nice, early attempt at politicizing a long-standing issue that has been dumped in this new administration's lap (like a lot of other things!). Good luck with your one issue rant - I am sure you will keep it up!!
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Feb 24, 11 10:34 PM
Didn't we have two Springs people on the Board? (Foster and Blowin?) How'd that work out for ya? Not saying Springs doesn't have talent on the political level, but let's get someone intelligent, independant and not ethically challenged this time 'round.
By blanketsmama (6), Springs on Mar 1, 11 9:12 AM
they cannot and do not ticket landlords for overcrowded homes but they sure have been writing a sh*^ load of tickets for illegal DOG HOUSES. Do we even have a code enforcement department or has it gone to the DOGS. !!!!
By bonacspring (5), east hampton on Feb 24, 11 7:48 AM
Only time code enforcement was worth anything was back when Steve Gold was in charge of it and you know what happened to him. He started writing up the violators some of which had strong political connections and he got s*** canned for doing his job. So lets all give Betsy a chance and see what she can do.
By Brown25 (38), Groovehampton on Feb 24, 11 8:02 AM
We have to give the new code enforcement people a chance, but they will be on a short leash. This better get fixed or there will certainly be political ramifications. It is comical how all we are asking for, is the law to be upheld, and somehow that is percieved as a lot to ask? The town is littered with cops, hiding in any nook and cranny they can find in order to give someone a ticket for going 45 in a 30 on an empty road in February, so the town can apply the same level of legal fortitude to ...more
By reality 101 (137), East Hampton on Feb 24, 11 10:44 AM
They are on a short leash, for sure, but I disagree about political ramifications. McGintee promised agressive code enforcement among other things. He got in and if anything everything went backwards with respect to enforcement. His enforcement director buddy did nothing and McGintee got re-elected twice. It was only the financial disaster he presided over that got him canned. Code enforcement does not drive elections, however if the Wilky team can get anything accomplished it will be a big ...more
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on Feb 24, 11 12:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
The facts are that the house is over-crowded, there have been noise complaints, and zoning laws have been violated. The homeowner needs to be held accountable and the people living there need to follow the laws that the rest of us do. If you find racism in that then I feel sorry for you.
By double standard (1506), quogue on Feb 24, 11 1:22 PM
To Double Standard From Quogue: How do you personally know, AS A MATTER OF FACT, that the house is overcrowded? Just because, in the past, there have been complaints and/or a Court-resolved disposition of past allegations (now this I know is a FACT - this premises has been cited IN THE PAST and PAST issues have been resolved with the Town) that the people currently living there are NOT following the law?!? Truly I don't know if the homeowners are or are not in compliance with the law- but "I ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Feb 24, 11 10:24 PM
You are right BW, they are not guilty until found guilty. However, if they are in violation then I stand by my comments. I was really addressing the ridiculous notion that this is somehow a racial issue.
It's a code issue and nothing more.
By double standard (1506), quogue on Feb 25, 11 3:35 PM
God forbid 10 kids die in a house fire from a power strip that has been overloaded,
then and sadly then, something will be done.
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Feb 25, 11 10:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thanks, SisBoom. Nice to know someone's in my corner
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on Feb 25, 11 11:24 AM
Does the town have sufficient code enforcement staff to do an effective job? Do any speak Spanish? Will the town attorney's office aggressively push its cases in court? If the answer is no to any of these questions then all we will get is photo ops. I was skeptical when the chief dog catcher was appointed head of code enforcement. Seemed like a...unusual choice. But if she can do the job I'll be her biggest fan.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 25, 11 9:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
"Bill has worked at the highest levels of the community, especially with many non-profit organizations including MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund), The National Council of La Raza, LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), The Imagen Foundation as well as other Latino business and civic organizations."

Lets give Wilky a chance and see what he is going to do in this situation. With his impressive background working with lations in the past I'd bet the ranch ...more
By Brown25 (38), Groovehampton on Feb 26, 11 9:44 AM
Hey Board Watcher, all my photographs were taken from Pardini Lane and Copeces Lane. And, PressGroup, thanks for the photo credit. If you lived on or near Pardini Lane or Copeces Lane this is the scene you would see every day. But my real gripe is that 27East.com allows all you weak-kneed, yellow-bellied Commenters to hide behind "screen names," rather than requiring you to use your real, verified names. If you do not have the courage of your convictions ... please shut up. David Buda
By davbud (127), east hampton on Feb 26, 11 1:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
If this has been bothering you Mr. Buda for ten years as the article states, where were you two years ago? Four years ago? Six years ago? Seems to me you had no problem with it when the past administration was ignoring it.
Kudos to the Wilkinson administration for assessing the situation, discovering the dysfunction within, and making positive changes to address the complaints in a proffesional manner.
By blanketsmama (6), Springs on Feb 28, 11 10:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well at least there's a "please" in that tirade - thanks for clarifying that you didn't have to go on private property to take the pictures Mr. Buda . . . I feel much better now. . . is it true you applied to Southampton Town for a job with Code Enforcement? Seems like your real gripe may be that you didn't get the job . . .
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Feb 26, 11 4:01 PM
I don't speak to people to hide in the shadows. David Buda
By davbud (127), east hampton on Feb 26, 11 5:58 PM
Make that "people who hide in the shadows." Mea culpa. David Buda
By davbud (127), east hampton on Feb 26, 11 5:59 PM
so what. just goes toshow that a guy who takes the test an passes doesn't get the job when ther is a guy who reputidly was or still is on the payroll who can't pass the test. thats the word on the street.
By Brown25 (38), Groovehampton on Feb 26, 11 6:46 PM
I don't know Buda personally but it seems he single-handedly has shamed code enforcement into moving more aggressively. After Copeces take a look at the house on Abrahams path between springs fireplace and three mile harbor rd. Looks like he's running a construction biz in backyard.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 26, 11 10:08 PM
Buda did not shake anything up single handily. If you go back and research news articles over the last six months you will see how the Wilky administration totally retooled code enforcement when the do nothing McGintee appointee director retired. The new structure with a prosecutor leading the team and an experienced code enforcement professional leading the ground troops in the field was put in place by Wilky. That all began before Mr. Buda landed on the Town Board meeting scene. This entire ...more
By connwatcher (112), east hampton on Feb 27, 11 1:22 PM
I don't know connwatcher, harbor, or Mr. Buda personally but after I watched yesterday's Town Board meetiing (held on a Saturday!! and that certainly wasn't happening before!! - go to www.townclerk.com) I see that statistics were put forth regarding the prior administration's "efforts", which resulted in 2 "housing" cases in Justice Court in January of 2008 (?) have to watch again, and the actual results of the reorganized department under this Board - which have resulted in 25 housing cases ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Feb 27, 11 8:20 PM
It's a springs issue because that's where the illegal housing occurs. Its a hot political issue because many springs residents feel town officials aren't responsive to their concerns and Theresa Quigley foolishly suggested legalizing existing illegal accessory apartments. If the current board can resolve the issue satisfactorily then they have my vote. Suggesting that the political motive is deflect heat from the Springs school board is a pretty wacky conspiracy theory.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 27, 11 9:44 PM
Illegal housing occurs everywhere, Harbor . . . the need for affordable living space is townwide and an issue that has never REALLY been addressed as it is now being addressed by this Town Board. Quigley's attempt to provide housing is not "foolish" - it is necessary. And, obviously, it is a work in progress, not a mandate. Moreover, I don't believe that the very vocal 15 or so "Concerned Springs Citizens" speak for the majority of those who live here year round. It IS political because no other ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Feb 27, 11 10:25 PM
if quigley wants to provide affordable housing why not subdivide her 6 acres on swamp road and sell off the remainder cheap for an affordable housing project and take a tax cut? nah, i betcha she don't want that in her backyard.
By Brown25 (38), Groovehampton on Feb 28, 11 7:52 PM
If i were to take your comment seriously Brown 25 I would say "because that property probably isn't zoned for affordable apartments". Instead let me ask you - why don't YOU run for office Brown25 . . . nah, it's not about real issues or facts for you - it's all about being very, very nasty at a personal level. No wonder we have so few, dedicated professionals to choose from when election the time rolls around . . . who needs it?
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 1, 11 3:44 AM
the comment wasn't meant to be nasty especially on a personal level. talk about going off the deepend boardwatcher, it was an off the cuff comment. Why doesn't Ms. Quigley sponsor some sort of legislation for people who own large parcels who could sever off a lot for a small affordable house and get a tax break. win-win situation. And as far as being nasty at a personal level I think you have it all wrong. Isn't the political nastyness that is part of the election process the reason why most ...more
By Brown25 (38), Groovehampton on Mar 1, 11 8:35 AM
Oh yeah, and what about your comment above;

"is it true you applied to Southampton Town for a job with Code Enforcement? Seems like your real gripe may be that you didn't get the job . . .

By Board Watcher (101), East Hampton on Feb 26, 11 4:01 PM"

Let me get this straight, you accuse me of getting nasty on a personal level???
By Brown25 (38), Northwest on Mar 1, 11 8:46 AM