The City of Rye

On July 17th, 2007, the City of Rye Building Department inspector, Vincent Tamburro, Ron Gatto, Westchester’s lead investigator on The Westchester County Environmental Enforcement Unit and The Westchester County Health Department Sanitarian, Matthew Smith conducted an inspection/investigation on Hen Island.

Vincent Tamburro, as well as the other officials, agreed on the many volatile violations present on Hen Island. The only questions at the time were who the lead agency would be and to whom the County legal department or the City of Rye would issue summonses to, the homeowners or the corporate owners (Kuder Island Colony Inc).

It was evident that the violations were present and serious. (Westchester County Environmental Security Specialist, Steven Carol documented this investigation in video).

At the time of the investigation, Mr. Tamburro was given a list of building and safety code violations in addition to the sewer, water and mosquito infestation complaints. The list included items such as a staircase with a missing rail, rodent infestations,electrical and propane systems installed improperlynew wall construction,wall expansionsnew walkwaysdebris being used as fill in the buffer zone,steel buried on the beaches for erosion control and sea walls installed below the high-tide water line, all completed without any permits from the required agencies.

After the investigation, Mr. Tartaglione contacted the building department to inquire why the City of Rye had not answered his complaint. He was given the response that “The city attorney’s instructions were not to respond in writing to any of the complaints with regards to Hen Island.”

Following his conversation with the building department, Mr. Tartaglione e-mailed a letter to Mayor Steven Otis and the city council. To date, the only answer he has received as to the violations was as a result of reading the comments in local newspapers.

Assistant City Manager Scott Pickup said, “The City feels that the Island has complied with everything that has been asked of it by the City’s building department based on recent inspections over this summer.” (Ref: Rye Sound Shore Review September 21st, 2007)

Paul Shew, Rye’s city manager, also questioned the validity of Mr. Tartaglione’s claims. Mr. Shew said, “No violations were found when Rye’s building inspector, along with county health and environment officials, inspected the island in July.” (Ref: New York Times September 9th, 2007)

Mr. Shew added, “The city building inspector had last visited Hen Island in July with county Health Department officials and members of the county environmental police. No health violations were observed.

” It’s private property. We have to get permission to go on-site,” Shew said. “If there’s something that comes to our attention, we’ll look at it.”

(Ref: Journal News September 4th, 2007)


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