Cops raid Riverside building, find 19 living above auto shop

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Police raided this building in Riverside and found 19 people living above an auto repair shop there.

Southampton Town authorities raided a Riverside building and issued 130 violations to its owner after finding 19 people living above an auto repair shop there, including several school age children, officials said.

Town code enforcement agents and police obtained a search warrant and raided the building on 48 Old Quogue Road, owned by Helen Goff, on the morning of Oct. 5, officials said, adding that Ms. Goff hasn’t paid taxes on the property for 2008, 2009 or 2010.

Violations included summonses for not having working smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors, electrical and plumbing violations, overcrowding, and for having weak structural integrity of the building, said chief town code enforcement investigator David Betts.

“The building is constructed mostly of wood with apartments above an auto repair shop,” Mr. Betts said. “It had many violations of the Southampton Town and New York State building codes.”

The inspectors also found windows with broken or missing glass and a dilapidated roof that was partially covered with a tarp to prevent leaking into the bedrooms below, officials said.

There also had been construction done without permits, and an outdoor waste system was in disrepair and had standing wastewater above it, according to the town’s chief building inspector, Michael Benincasa.
Ms. Goff, who owns several properties on Old Quogue Road, has been two and three years late in paying taxes on the property since 2003, and the taxes for 2008, 2009, and 2010 are still unpaid, totaling $12,547 on the building and quarter-acre property, according to town tax receiver Theresa Kiernan.

If taxes are unpaid after three years, the county initiates a process to take the property for non-payment of taxes, she said.

According to 2006 tax rolls, which are the last ones that list names and are available online, Ms. Goff at that time owned five properties, all in Riverside, that included 44, 48, 70 and 134 Old Quogue Road and another on a private road.

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