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Officials Propose Car Counting To Weed Out Illegal Housing Near Stony Brook University

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- With the start of a new school year on Long Island comes a renewed crackdown against illegal student housing surrounding Stony Brook University.

Town of Brookhaven officials said this year, they want to count the number of cars on the street to help identify illegal apartments.

As CBS2's Valerie Castro reported, homeowner groups on the lookout for illegal student housing pointed out a property where the town forced the eviction of more than a dozen college students.

Despite new dormitories, thousands of Stony Brook students still live off campus, leading to illegal apartments in the surrounding single-family home neighborhoods.

Now, the town is proposing to find those illegal apartments by counting cars parked out front.

"There could be possibly as many as six, eight, 10 cars at that residence," said Brookhaven Deputy Town Attorney Dave Moran.

Officials are proposing homeowners be allowed one car for each bedroom, plus one extra.

If approved by the town board, investigators will then check a suspected property's building permits.

"And compare it to what we're seeing on the street, do an investigation and issue appropriate summonses to attempt to bring the property into compliance," Moran said.

Activist homeowner groups welcome the town's proposal, arguing that many properties clearly have more cars than bedrooms.

"It's just another tool that we have in our arsenal to fight the illegal housing that has been going on in the neighborhood," said Stony Brook homeowner Anthony Derosa.

Biochemistry major Nathaniel Young lives in a converted garage. He said it's the only way that students like him can afford to live near the campus.

"I don't see the problem with multiple students living in a house. Especially if there's nowhere else for them to stay, I'm not sure what other recourse they have," he said.

The town has scheduled a public hearing for Oct. 1 on its counting cars crackdown proposal.

The head of the landlord's association said they will appeal any new limits the town sets on parking.

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