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Giglio withdraws plan to require updated COs before residents sell their homes

A proposal to require homeowners to have an updated certificate of occupancy in order to sell their homes in Riverhead Town was withdrawn less than two days after it was first proposed.

The proposal was put forth by Councilwoman Jodi Giglio at last Thursday’s Town Board work session and was modeled after the code in Westhampton Beach Village, where former Riverhead building inspector Brad Hammond now works.

It read: “An updated certificate of occupancy shall be required upon the sale or transfer of any improved real property, including a condominium, and it shall be unlawful to use or occupy any improved real property after title has been transferred without first obtaining an updated certificate of occupancy.”

Ms. Giglio said at the work session that changes are being made to people’s homes that the town is not aware of and she pointed to problems with overcrowded homes.

“For the safety of the residents and the people involved, I think it’s a small price to pay,” she said.

Any changes to someone’s property that were not called for in the original certificate of occupancy would have had to be corrected before the property could be sold, under the proposal. 

Riverhead’s code already imposes double fees for work that’s been done without a permit. 

By Saturday, however, the proposal had received enough negative feedback that Ms. Giglio withdrew it. 

“The proposed legislation for the requirement of an updated certificate of occupancy prior to selling your home will not be going forward for a public hearing,” Ms. Giglio wrote in a letter to the editor. “I have spoken to the supervisor and my fellow Town Board members and am requesting the legislation be withdrawn.

“Since reading the comments on Facebook about this legislation, (and having) spoken to lawyers, real estate professionals, title companies, expeditors and home improvement contractors, this will hinder taxpayers’ ability to sell their homes during this difficult time.”

Town attorney Bob Kozakiewicz, who also spoke to Mr. Hammond about the village requirement, said he was told the requirement has been on the books in Westhampton Beach since 2001 or so, and has been accepted by the real estate community there, although Mr. Hammond also told him that most houses in the village “start at[about] $1 million .”

The Riverhead Town Board on Thursday had informally agreed to schedule a public hearing on the proposal but is no longer considering it.