In response to complaints from neighbors and multiple instances of surveillance, officials uncovered an illegal housing situation in Riverhead earlier this week.
Code enforcement officers in the Riverhead Town attorney’s office, along with officers from the Riverhead Town Police Department, executed a search warrant at 554 Raynor Avenue on Tuesday morning at about 6.
According to a statement from the office of Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar, they found five people living in an unregistered Bounder Recreation Vehicle, which was being used as permanent housing. According to a statement from the town, the RV had electricity, water and wastewater discharge connected for service as “an independent and distinct dwelling unit.”
Code enforcement also reportedly found three people living in a detached garage that had been illegally converted to living space without permits and/or approvals from the town’s building department. The garage had a living room area, two bedrooms, a bathroom and “a makeshift kitchen” area, the statement said.
The property is owned by Patricia Sapienza-Brown.
Numerous state and town building, fire and zoning code violations were observed, documented and cited, the town said. Sapienza-Brown received 30 town code violations.
“These violations not only represent a risk to the safety and welfare of the residents of the subject property but to the residents of the surrounding area, as well,” the statement read.
“In furtherance of the Town Board’s commitment to improving the quality of life of all Town residents, attorneys for the Town of Riverhead intend to pursue any and all action necessary to immediately ban the use of the RV and detached garage as living areas and remediate violations of the Town Code and Zoning Ordinances, the New York State Building and Fire Code, and New York State Property Maintenance Code,” Aguiar said. “I commend the Town Attorney, his staff and the Code Enforcement Officers for their efforts in combating these types of dangerous and hazardous living conditions.”