Families Told Big Apple Actually Owns Part Of Their PropertyBy Hazel Sanchez

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Imagine spending a fortune to beautify your front yard, only to find out it doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to New York City.

That’s what’s happening in one Brooklyn neighborhood. Residents may be forced to tear down their fences and staircases.

As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reports, the city is saying “move it, or lose it.”

Veronica Deignan’s family has lived in her Monitor Street home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn since 1945.

But the city just informed her that part of her front yard belongs to someone else.

When asked if the city had ever approach her family in the previous 66 years to say it owned the property, Deignan said, “No, this was our property.”

The City Department of Design and Construction sent the Deignan’s and all their neighbors on Monitor Street letters to inform them their ages-old wrought iron fences and front stoops are on city-owned property.

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Residents must remove them or the city will — all to make way for sewage and aesthetic improvements. The neighborhood is outraged.

“Why do they want to dig it up again? We have new sewers, catch basins, you name it under this ground already,” Deignan said.

“I was really angry. I called the property manager but he wasn’t really too forthcoming about anything,” neighbor Arlene Reischer added.

Basically the city wants to extend the sidewalk an extra five feet, which would mean one property owner Sanchez met on Wednesday night would have to get rid of an entire staircase landing.

Dozens of residents confronted DDC officials at a meeting Wednesday night.

“The claim of the DDC is that we’re encroaching. However, these fence lines have been in place since the homes were built in 1900, 1910, long before the DOT existed,” Ricky Carias said.

“You’re taking five more feet that give 15 feet. Nassau Avenue, Manhattan Avenue don’t even have 15-feet sidewalks. Are we having a parade that we don’t know about?” Bob Knapp said.

The DDC said not all residents will be forced to remove their stoops or fences, but as of now, despite the strenuous complaints, the project is a go for the spring.

The Department of Transportation is spearheading the project on Monitor Street, but it did not attend the meeting. Another meeting is being planned so the DOT can address residents’ concerns.

Think the people of Greenpoint are getting the short end of the stick on this one? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below?

Hazel Sanchez

Comments (27)
  1. Scott Brown says:

    Since the city owns that land, are they going to build safe ramps to get in to their homes… With the snow and ice that is a usual happening there how are these people going to be safe to get UP in to their homes. This is ridiculous!!!! I think that these people should allow the city to do the work and then sue them when they get hurt on the city’s land!!!!!!

  2. Linda Kaiser says:

    The whole thing is ridiculous! Some of those stoops and stairways have been there for a hundred years, with never a problem with the space on the sidewalks. They are part of the charm of New York City as far as I see it. Leave those people alone.

  3. Greenpointer says:

    Wondering why my comment referring the sewage improvements mentioned in the article above. The relation to the ever expanding Newtown water pollution facility just across the street seems alot more realistic than bike lanes! Greenpointers need to be more involved in the changes outside entities have planned for Greenpoint. For instance, how many know that this plant takes care of sewage from Manhattan also???

  4. E says:

    The city wants to make more room for bike lanes on the sidewalk…that’s all it is.

  5. diogenes says:

    Please read up on Godwin’s Law, sir, before making your next fatuous comparison to Nazi Germany. I’ve lived in NYC my whole life and yes, in spite of changes, it’s still a great city. Period.

    Florida. Yeesh.

  6. diogenes says:

    It’s really cruddy for the residents and unless the city pays for their forced “renovations” I think it’s outlandish to expect working families to shell out for majorly expensive work like this, but some of these comparisons to what’s going on now in Egypt and what happened in Nazi, Germany are pretty over-the-top. Rounding up people and committing genocide is a far cry from moving a property line. Way to trivialize the Holocaust, folks.

  7. mak says:

    How STOOPid can NYC be?

  8. itsallaboutmoney says:

    have these people been paying taxes based on those stoops and fenced in areas?

  9. Greenpoint homeowner says:

    this whole thing is fishy. Remove peoples stoops? These houses werent built yesterday. They and their stoops are one and should stay that way. And if you grew up there you would know, if you were haning out on a stoop that wasnt yours, the owners would come out and tell you to get off their stoop… it was the city cops doing that.
    Just BS

  10. John Haines says:

    And this is yet another reason why we will have the same riots as they are having in egypt!. The government will keep taking and taking and taking. The government does not care about the people unless it is how much money they can get from them. Do not touch your stoops! Protest!!! Riot!!! Give the city hell!

  11. The Good Samaritan says:

    This is city property and the sidewalks need to be widen to accommodate handicap people in wheelchairs.

    The Good Samaritan has spoken.

    1. The Monitor says:

      The sidewalks are already wide enough for people in wheelchairs to do 360 wheelies if they wanted to.

  12. Kim says:

    So the DDC can just change laws and revoke property from rightful owners at the drop of a hat.
    All to the benefit of the state. Sounds like th ebeginning of NAZI GERMANY.

    Wake up and get out of NY while you still can…

    This is such an outrage there are no words….

    And bloomberg stands by and does nothing

    1. diogenes says:

      Wow. Really? Nazi Germany? Seriously? That’s uh, wow. Quite hyperbolic.

  13. Denver says:

    Citizens get the government they deserve.

  14. BDAY55 says:

    With everyone hating on Bloomie, I just want to know who actually VOTED FOR HIM??????

  15. DanTe says:

    One, there is something called squatters’ rights in the U.S. I’m pretty confident that it applies here since it’s been 66 years squatting already.

    Two, didn’t I keep harping on Fuhrer Bloomberg’s policies and how they mirror Hitler’s? Hitler also have grand “beautification” schemes too.

    Other things the Bloomberg regime has in common with the Nazi’s:

    Bloomberg and Hitler both unilaterally broke the law on term limits and extended their terms due to an “emergency”.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both like to dictate what healthy activity or food the peons need to do or eat. Hitler was a vegetarian too.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both have grand automobile/people mover plans. The Autoban and the massive lane changes in NYC.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both hates it when civilians are allowed to own guns. Gee, I wonder why they both like a helpless citizenry.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both use “emergencies” to increase their special police’s powers. NYC’s SS even perform overseas “investigations”, like NYC is a wholly separate little dictatoriate.

    Bloomberg and Hitler both just love to control how our youths are “educated”. And children were encouraged to report the teachers if they said the wrong thing.

    Bloomberg and Hitler people both wear monochrome colored shirts in a uniform manner. (While it’s true, this is placed here more so that the fascists can have something to respond to.)

    I wonder what “emergency” will occur for Bloomberg to break the term limit on the Presidency?

  16. Wow! This seems really dumb. If we are looking to cut the budget, maybe we should start here.

  17. Hyland says:

    Um Hello City…those stoops are functional…they allow access to seperate apartments in the mostly 2 or 3 family homes….Whose going to pay for the reconstruction insdie so your tenants don’t have to walk through your house.

  18. Johnny says:

    NYC is another step closer to being a communist regime. I’m beginning to think you don’t actually own your home anymore with all of these stupid rules and regulations dictating what you can and cannot do.

    1. Beau Gator says:

      No one actually “owns” their home. If you don’t believe me, let them stop paying taxes on it and see what happens.

  19. CW Orange says:

    Surely a suit by EVERYONE will change their minds. How many landowners? The current administration and their heairs will not live long enough to see that adjudicated….

    1. bloomberg hater says:

      Bloomberg has always done his best to prove he is embarrassed to be a jew, but he doesnt need to prove it by turning nyc into nazi germany, cigarette bans and taxes, no smoking in outdoor places and now this. Heil the feurer mike bloomberg. perhaps he will have the cops doing the goose-step next!!!

      1. diogenes says:

        Reductio ad Hitlerum arguments. I’m no fan of Bloomberg, believe me, but he’s not in the same sphere as Hitler.

  20. h robertson says:

    Is there not such a thing as prescriptive title in in New York State? If owners have been allowed to occupy this portion of property for so many years without the City raising an objection then the belongs to the homeowner by prescriptive title. Should the City invoke the law of eminent domain, be invoked the homeowners should be compensated for giving up a piece of their property.

  21. Robert Skowronski says:

    l am a homeowner on that block and i never got a notice .. still waiting on that plan to vent gases in basement from the millions of gallons of fuel that was leaked into the ground from exxon/mobil plant . i,m packin up selling all and going back to europe america’ is headin down the toilet . gun control, taxes no parking, 10 dollar hot dogs at the game .what next mandatory birth control.
    get out while you can.

  22. r cole says:

    another case of NYC big city government unresponsive and unreasonable, bloomberg has turned every agency into a revenue collection agency in order to make all new yorkers suffer, Bloomberg hates poor people and hates NYC he is from boston send him back. Only NYC has rights none of its residents have rights NYC is a police tax state

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