Hurricane Sandy hit Island Park hard, but as private developers continue to improve plots of land to turn a profit for themselves, the village is also benefitting.
“It’s an absolute renaissance,” Mayor Michael McGinty said of the newly built and remodeled homes, “and what it does [is] it encourages young people starting out with their families to buy homes in Island Park. We’re having more and more young people buying homes in Island Park.”
After the storm, he said, many residents went through the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery to raise their homes — about 80 have been elevated in the village — while others chose to sell their houses to the New York State Housing Trust.
Developers have been buying these homes — and others — to improve the properties and resell them, which residents said at a village board meeting last month has been beautifying the area.
Christopher Scherillo, a developer from Bayside, bought the home at 9 Truxton Road in 2015, for example, and another property a few months later on Sagamore Road — or at least what was left of them.
“They were gutted; they were destroyed,” Scherillo said of the homes, adding that he takes great pride in improving the look of the areas around the houses he works on. “They weren’t lendable, they weren’t livable. Basically you bought the land. You didn’t buy the home.”
Scherillo, whose family buys and sells houses around Long Island, said he has focused on building in Island Park recently, and purchased the property on the corner of Sagamore and Parma roads, which has been a vacant lot for at least 40 years, according to McGinty. Scherillo said he will soon be sending plans for the property to the village, and McGinty noted it is “destined to be a beautiful single-family house.”
“While these people are doing these private actions, the village of Island Park is expediting building permits, inspections, zoning,” McGinty said. “We are doing everything we can to help them. We’re encouraging them to invest.”
Oceanside resident Marc Weissman, who owns a few Island Park properties with his brother Larry, lauded the village for their quick cooperation with developers, like the ones he represents as an attorney, to move the building process along.
The Weissman brothers rebuilt the six-family dwelling at 99 Nassau Lane, which they had owned since about 2006. The home was severely damaged during Sandy, but was completed last year, and now stands as a standout on the street. Unlike some other villages and towns in which his clients have built, Weissman said, Island Park officials were diligent about inspections. “With Island Park, it was the next day,” Weissman said. “They’re really encouraging people to lift [and] to build. They’re making it easy for everyone.”
He added that he and his brother just bought a three-family house, also on Nassau Lane, a few weeks ago, and added that developers have bought five other properties on the street. “All those houses [have] Sandy damage [and] no one’s lived there,” he said, “but in three years, those are all going to be brand new homes, and that’s what’s happening in Island Park.”
McGinty also noted some of Kent Street’s new homes, and one to come on Quebec Road, as part of the continued process to ameliorating the village’s aesthetic.
“You have [developers] looking at other locations in the village as we speak,” McGinty said. “We’re taking a village and rebuilding it from the ground up.”