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Neighbors Fear Two Homes Battered By Sandy Will Collapse With Next Storm

By Nicholas Rizzi | March 6, 2013 8:44am | Updated on March 6, 2013 8:45am

NEW DORP BEACH — Residents fear two abandoned homes on New Dorp Lane, which received a beating during Hurricane Sandy, could collapse into neighboring houses with the next storm.

Jessica Abouabdallah, 28, who has lived behind the houses on Neptune Avenue for nearly seven years, said she got lucky during the October storm and only got flooding in her basement.

Now, as the East Coast braces for a storm that could bring 3 inches of snow, high winds and flooding, she fears the homes at 774 and 776 New Dorp Lane will crash down into her house or her neighbors' property.

“The next wind storm or heavy storm is just going to push it down,” she said. “It’s just a matter of time."

The homes at 774 and 776 New Dorp Lane, which share the same property lot, have been a bane in the neighborhood even before Sandy, Abouabdallah said.

Records show that both addresses have a total of four open complaints, and 776 New Dorp Lane has a open violation from Oct. 25 for failure to maintain the outside of the home.

The $500 fine has not been paid, DOB records show, and is categorized as the least severe class of DOB violations.

Most of the complaints center on worries that the property is abandoned and in danger of collapsing, records show. On the most recent Feb. 27 complaint about the homes, DOB officials wrote that another inspection needed to be scheduled.

One of the two homes also has a red placard posted in front, meaning it's unsafe to enter and the property is severely damaged.

Before Sandy, Abouabdallah noticed a crack down the outside concrete wall in one of the homes, which is in her back yard, and started to call the city to complain.

After Sandy, Abouabdallah said the crack has gotten even larger and the wood beams from the roof can now be seen.

“It’s just getting worse,” Abouabdallah said. “Now you we can see the wood."

A neighbor, who asked to be identified only by his first name George, said the owner, Ruth Dougherty, lives out of state and let her brother live in the house until about two years ago, when he went into a nursing home.

The house wasn’t in great shape when he lived there, George said, but since he left, the house has steadily declined.

“It was in bad shape,” he said. “After the storm I couldn’t get into the place.”

Both neighbors said they tried to contact Dougherty but were blown off, and they haven’t seen her check on the house since the storm.

Abouabdallah said the last time she contacted her, Dougherty told her to never call again.

Abouabdallah said she has called elected officials and the city several times before and after the Oct. 29 storm but nothing has been done.

Dougherty could not be reached for comment, and the DOB did not respond to requests for comment.

While the city's decision to knock down homes is not based on the color of the tags out front, the house could be torn down without the owner's consent if it is deemed an immediate hazard to public safety, something the city planned to do to three other Staten Island homes earlier this month.

That's what Abouabdallah's hoping for.

“It shouldn’t be cracked,” she said. “It should be knocked down.”