The first thing Daniel Butler sees through his bedroom window every morning is a massive crater next to his North Bellmore home. The hole has been there for three years, and for the past 15 months it has expanded into his backyard, causing two sections of his fence to collapse into it.
“I couldn’t complain about them building a house, but once my yard started to collapse I had to go into the hole to get the two sections of fence that had collapsed in,” Butler, who has lived on Virginia Avenue for 30 years, said. The hole was created when Butler’s former neighbor sold the now vacant property to a developer who knocked it down.
“He excavated too close to my property, it went right up to my fence,” Butler explained. “So over time, it eroded away and he didn’t up put any barrier to keep it from eroding.”
He called the Hempstead Town’s Department of Buildings in an effort to address the issue, but received no help. Butler said he’s reached out to the town more than two dozen times in 15 months. “That was the most frustrating part about this whole thing,” he said. “You would think that you would call the Town and they would come in and do something about it.”
Mike Fricchione, a Town spokesman, said the owner of the vacant property has been issued multiple summonses for not fixing the hole. “The new property owner and contractors have assured the Town’s Building Department that the concrete foundation for the new house will be put into place where the hole is and should be complete by the end of the month,” Fricchione added.
On May 31, construction workers were working on the property and a retaining wall was placed between the hole and Butler’s property — but that hasn’t stopped the erosion. . “They didn’t backfill it high enough [because] my property is [still] dipping,” Butler explained as he pointed to a dip in his backyard. But all Butler can do for now is wait for the hole to be leveled so he can level his own land and replace his fence.
“I shouldn’t have to give up my yard for two years,” he said. Butler said he wants his backyard returned to normal so he can enjoy it during the summertime. “Maybe by the end of the summer, I can bring my hammock out. Last year I didn’t bring it out,” he said. “Let’s reseed it and pretend like it never happened.”