Fishkill uses nuisance law to force repair of eyesore in town's historic area
An eyesore in a historic area of Fishkill will soon be no more after the town government used a nuisance law to force the property owner to make a change.
The Brinckerhoff Inn owner Bob Chiulli gives his bed and breakfast guests a historic experience in a 300-year-old building once visited by many important revolutionaries. He tries to shield guests from waking up to the abandoned, half-developed property across Route 52.
"I planted a few evergreens to kind of block it off a little bit," Chiulli said.
The property has looked run down for at least five years. Chiulli learned on Thursday that a developer is planning fix it.
"It's great news, if it happens," Chiulli said with a laugh.
Fishkill Town Supervisor Ozzy Albra said a developer was turning the lot into a self-storage business but stopped part way through just as the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
"The project went sideways," Albra said. He would get complaints about the property sticking out among historic buildings and monuments.
After the town dedicated a statue of Native American Revolutionary War hero Daniel Ninham right by the lot, complaints increased.
Once those complaints started rolling in, Albra said the town did something it had never done before to motivate the property owners to do something about it. Taking advantage of a nuisance law that's been on the books for the last 10 years, the town told the lot owner to clean up the property or else the town would clean it and bill the owner for it.
Albra said cleanup started within months, the property changed owners and new developers came to Town Hall to discuss how to do a project that fits in with the neighborhood.
"It was suggested that they redo the facade to match a more historical era during the time period," Albra explained.
He said the new project, also a self-storage facility, could be completed by the end of the year.
Albra said the town used the nuisance law to pressure owners of four other eyesores to clean up. He said two were demolished, one was boarded up and another is being restored.