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New law lets Beach 84th homeowners buy part of pier

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Homeowners on the Beach 84th Street pier in Far Rockaway can now buy the property underneath their homes after Gov. David Paterson signed a bill last week authorizing the purchases.

The state owned the pier property before selling it to the city 50 years ago, according to Greg Marinucci, one of the 17 homeowners on Beach 84th Street.

He said Tuesday he expected all of his neighbors would take advantage of the sale. Under the new law the city is not allowed to sell the pier to buyers other than the homeowners.

"It's going to be like a corporation and we're going to have shares in it," Marinucci said, noting that the city had been leasing the pier property on a year-to-year basis to the homeowners.

The homes sit on top of the pier and are lined in a row abutting Jamaica Bay.

A "Keep Out" sign precluded a reporter from viewing the homes, where a notice posted by the city deemed the pier "unsafe to occupy" because of "deteriorating conditions."

Marinucci said the homeowners wanted to renovate their property, which he described as bungalows, but not before they owned the pier.

"We don't want to fix our bungalows if we don't own the property," Marinucci said, pointing out that the city does not allow him and his neighbors to have boats on the pier.

They must use an adjacent marina to access the waterfront.

Marinucci said the homes were handed down from generation to generation and none of the homeowners live on the property full time.

"In the summer, people come from Maryland, Florida," said Marinucci, a Long Island resident. "They come here for the summer."

The bill allowing the homeowners to buy the piers was sponsored in the state Senate by Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) and in the state Assembly by Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach), who both represent Far Rockaway.

State legislation was needed because existing law does not allow the city to sell the pier directly to the homeowners, according to a memo attached to the bill.

The legislation also requires the city to use money from the purchases for capital improvements to the pier, the memo said. It also requires an independent appraisal of the property to be conducted before the city can go through with the sale.

The bill passed both houses June 24 and was signed by Paterson Aug. 5.

Kelly Simon, Pheffer's legislative director, said the bill was brought to the assemblywoman from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office.

"Everybody was in agreement on this," she said. "Hopefully, now they'll start the process. The mayor's office said they're going to get right on it."

All 17 homeowners are believed to want to purchase the property, Simon said.

"We'll see when the assessment comes back," she said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:40 pm, October 10, 2011
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