SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WENY) -- On Sherman Avenue in the town of Southport, the Cherry Lane Park mobile home park is awaiting demolition to get underway for ten condemned units, as part of a licensing agreement with the town. 

On July 17, the town voted 3-2 to execute a license agreement with the park's owner, Cherry Lane Park, LLC. The agreement granted the park a license to operate, which is good through the end of the 2023. Outlined in the agreement, the park had ten days to secure demolition permits, and then 45 days following to remove the condemned trailers from the property. 

At a town board meeting on September 12th, Town Supervisor Joe Roman shared that preparation for demolition has hit a hurdle; NYSEG had informed him that several of the condemned and occupied trailers had connected utility lines, and the company couldn't disconnect service to some condemned trailers without impacting nearby occupied ones. Demolition cannot begin until the utility service lines are disconnected from the units. 

"Both my gas and electric contacts at NYSEG have told me that trailers 3, 9, 29, [and] 38 all have active service, so they are unable to disconnect," said Town of Southport Supervisor Joe Roman during the board meeting. "Also, the problem both departments are having is disconnecting trailers that have shared services, like gas lines." 

Cherry Lane Park LLC's attorney Michael Bruno told WENY News in a phone call on Wednesday, September 13, that the town board's understanding of the utility issue is not correct. Bruno said shared utilities have already been disconnected from the necessary units, and now the company is now waiting for an NYSEG contractor to remove the meters from the trailers. The park's attorney explained they have no control over when the meters could be removed. Bruno added when the utility companies, the town, water, and sewer departments give the clear, the demolition will begin. Workers could be seen on the property Wednesday, removing items like water heaters from the trailers slated for demolition. Underground utility lines could also be seen marked with flags staked into the ground. 


While the demolition awaits commencement, some board members questioned whether it would be completed by the 45 day timeline in the agreement. Board member Dan Williams said they feel the demolition project needs the chance to meet the 45-day timeline. The members discussed whether it should take a vote on another extension, but ultimate decided against taking action at this time. 

"Unfortunately, we have a challenging unforeseen issue," Southport Council Member Dan Williams said. "I agree this has not been a smooth transition. I agree this thing has been a huge challenge, but I think we need to afford them the opportunity to get this done."

Supervisor Roman acknowledges the new hiccup is bothersome to neighbors on Sherman Avenue. Roman and the town board say they are working with the law firm Bruno and Devine LLC, which represents Cherry Lane Park, LLC to complete the agreed-on next steps in a timely manner.

"The bottom line is NYSEG has to come up with a plan to be able to do this to reconfigure if you will, those gas lines so they can do the removal and yet keep those other trailers still intact," Roman said. 

The town board said if demolition is not complete on or before September 21, they will readdress the topic at the next meeting on Tuesday, October 10. 

Condemned mobile homes at Cherry Lane Park include 3, 7, 9, 18, 29, 30, 34, 36, 38, and 40. WENY filed a Freedom of Information Act with the Town of Southport and learned that LCP Group agreed to complete the demolition for an estimated $77,000. 

While the meeting's main focus was the demolition of condemned trailers, neighbors who spoke during the public comment period also addressed a long list of other concerns. Southport residents offered to give up their three-minute public comment to allow one neighbor, Tina Moore, more time to lay out discrepancies she says she discovered in the documents between the town and the park, from dates to missing information on applications and other paperwork. Moore also brought up the fact that the park does not currently have an on-site manager. Attorney Bruno told WENY News the park is under constant supervision by a property manager, which is located in Waverly. 

Nearby neighbors say issues at the park have only gotten increasingly worse over the years, witnessing unsafe conditions, fires, explosions, crime, drugs, verbal assault and threats of violence. Sherman Avenue neighbors like Tina Moore, Grace Gee and Mary Davenport have repeatedly shown up to town board meetings, calling on the board to close the park down, saying the existing trailers are unsafe to live in. The most recent trailer on Lot 7 was condemned in May. Ultimately, the board voted on the new license agreement with Cherry Lane Park through the end of the year, giving time for the park's owner to meet the terms outlined in the agreement.

In the future, Cherry Lane Park plans to bring in new trailers to the property, which its attorney said would then be sold to tenants. Attorney Michael Bruno told the board at the July town board meeting, that the company will work with remaining residents who wish to continue living in the park, and give them the opportunity to move into the new homes. The park's plans also include a new layout, in accordance with current code requirements. There are currently 11 trailers that remain on the property, one of which is owner-occupied. The others are rented.