The owner of a home at 150 Christian Avenue in Stony Brook has been slapped with multiple code violations and an April court date for allegedly operating an illegal rooming house which the town said was occupied by as many as 14 college students.
Brookhaven investigators executed a search warrant on the property on Feb. 10 after previously being denied entrance to the home, which they say is approximately 7,000 square feet in size, subdivided into three apartments including a finished basement, and lacks necessary smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The investigation was conducted by Brookhaven's Quality of Life Task Force, which the town said facilitated the collection of close to $1 million in fines from noncompliant homeowners in 2010. The task force also recently and for renting several illegal apartments.
The town has confirmed the owner of the home on Christian Avenue is Steven Paul Graziano, who may also own properties in Belle Terre, Mt. Sinai, and Port Jefferson. Graziano faces up to $24,000 in fines if found guilty at his April 14 court date. Graziano could not be reached for comment Wednesday and Thursday. He faces 10 charges, including no rental permit, no certificate of occupancy for two apartments and the basement, no permit for construction of two apartments and the basement, and more.
Nearby neighbors reported seeing and hearing loud parties stretching late into the night at the home, which led to the town's investigation.
"The activities that were going on at this residence were not consistent with the character of the neighborhood and caused a great deal of hardship for those who live in the area," Brookhaven supervisor Mark Lesko said in a statement.
Valerie Biscardi, town commissioner of housing and human services, said Brookhaven has a law prohibiting more than eight unrelated individuals from living together in one residence, and any landlord wishing to rent an apartment must first get a rental permit from the town.
According to building department records, the homeowner had four different permits for that property, including one for an in-ground swimming pool, dating back to 2003. In 2005, a permit was issued for the construction of a two-story home with six bedrooms, and in 2006, a permit was issued for the demolition of two small structures, possibly storage buildings, on the property.
However, no rental permits had been issued for the home, where on Wednesday afternoon, eight cars were observed parked in its spacious but unpaved driveway.
"If you do the math, you know why they do it," Biscardi said. "They’re going to cover their expenses and then a lot more."
One tenant of the home, who did not want to be named, said "only ten or eleven" people were living in the house, not 14 as the town had stated, and said no one had been asked to vacate the home.
"We don't get that involved," said the tenant, a recent graduate of Stony Brook University. "That's up to the homeowner and the town."
The exterior of the two-story New England colonial-style home features white columns framing the front door, bay windows, and a balcony on the second floor.
"It is a very pretty house," the tenant said. "It's pretty new on the inside, too."
Much of Christian Avenue runs through an area the town has designated as an historic district. In the fall of 2010, a home at after its owner attempted to lease the property for use as a homeless shelter, a proposal which .