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City-Owned Overgrown Lot Infuriates Staten Island Neighbors

Neighbor Was Getting Repeated Tickets Until She Proved NYC Owned Land

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island neighborhood was calling for action Tuesday night, after learning who is responsible for an overgrown, dumped-on lot in their community.

As CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported, it turned out the mess was not the fault of anyone who lives there.

The lot in the Elm Park section of the borough has been an eyesore for years. It is covered in wild weeds, dumped garbage, discarded electrical wires, and who knows what else – tangled in an overgrown forest.

“The possums, to the raccoons, to the stray cats — they have a field day,” said homeowner Michael Marlin.

The dump site covers an entire sidewalk for almost an entire block, growing in a well-kept neighborhood. It frightens residents, with the road and other hazards hidden inside.

“You see, like, shopping carts at Christmastime,” a woman said. “People were dumping the Christmas trees here.”

But it turns out the dump site is not the fault of some absentee landowner. It is not even the homeowner’s responsibility across the property line next door.

The mess is actually owned by New York City. But the homeowner across the property line has been getting ticketed for it.

“I’m going to say maybe eight” tickets have been issued in four years, she said.

Finally, the woman decided to go to court and prove the city owns the land.

“Oh, it made me mad, of every time going through the trouble of every time responding to the tickets,” she said.

So what is being done about all of this? Now that the city has finally claimed responsibility, the councilwoman for the area is working on a solution, once and for all.

“Maybe maintaining a hit list, where they periodically go by and clean these spots up,” said Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-49th). “They are city-owned properties, and the city is responsible.”

“Hopefully it can be done, but I just feel like it’s not an important or urgent fact, and, you know, it just goes by the wayside, basically,” Marlin added.

Another more immediate concern is a stop sign that has been obstructed by the overgrown shrubbery. In the short term, a lawn service for the city-owned land has been suggested.

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