Staten Island elected officials want city to remove mold from abandoned homes
By Jillian Jorgensen, http://www.silive.com
With blighted, mold-infested homes still dotting the neighborhoods hit by Hurricane Sandy, Staten Island elected officials are looking again to pass a law allowing the city to enter abandoned homes and remove mold there.
“We think we have a bill that navigates that fine line between actually being effective and respecting property rights,” Borough President James Oddo said.
The bill — to be introduced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting — would create a “Remediation of Unsafe Flooded Homes Program” allowing two city agencies to inspect flood-damaged vacant homes and remove mold or other dangerous conditions inside.
It isn’t the first attempt at allowing the city to remove mold from private homes — as a councilman, Oddo introduced a similar bill in July 2013. But it was met with resistance from the Bloomberg administration, leaving the problem unresolved a year and a half after the storm — a timeline Oddo called “an embarrassment.”
“Nineteen months later, we’re trying to find the right language to make a constitutional bill to get government to do something on mold,” Oddo said Monday. “That’s beyond a joke, but that’s where we are. We’re using all the tools we have at our disposal.”
The bill introduced last year asked the Health Department with tackling the mold problem — and went nowhere with the agency’s leadership at the time, with the department saying it did not consider mold in neighboring homes a community health concern. Read more