NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An elderly homeowner in the Bronx has been ordered to fix her sidewalks due in part to a tripping hazard.

But as CBS2’s Raegan Medgie reported, the woman is confused – and wants to know why she is the one responsible.

Rosa DeBartolo has lived in her Throggs Neck home for 43 years. In March, she received a violation notice from the Department of Transportation reading, “The sidewalk has the following defects: broken, trip hazard, patchwork.”

DeBartolo called 311 for a second opinion, when another DOT inspector issued her even more violations.

“Maybe this?” she said as she pointed to a crack. “I don’t see nothing else — over here? I don’t know. I don’t understand.”

According to the city DOT, property owners are responsible for fixing sidewalks next to their properties. Blue chalk marks were placed on DeBartolo’s sidewalk show where repairs are needed.

But the question DeBartolo had was, where’s the damage?

“Nothing. No. You see anything?” she said as she looked at her sidewalk and called it “very nice.”

DeBartolo then reached out to state Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-The Bronx), who also took CBS2 around her property. With a copy of the DOT violation papers in hand, he showed CBS2 which sidewalk flagstones are considered damaged.

“If you just look at it – you know sidewalks here in the city of New York and what they look like – this is not bad whatsoever,” Benedetto said.

“You see, over here, you see everything?” added DeBartolo. “Nobody, I don’t think, is going to trip.”

Benedetto is teaming with city Councilman James Vacca (D-13th), demanding that the inspectors be better educated about what is considered “damage” and what is not. Because as it stands now, DeBartolo must still pay nearly $1,000 for the repairs.

“I can’t pay a lot of money cause I just (have) my Social Security,” she said.

Once DeBartolo fixes her sidewalks, an inspector must come out again to make sure the repairs are up to code. If they are not, DeBartolo will have to pay to have the repairs repaired.

“That’s unfair to me,” she said.

The DOT said several other properties on the block have received similar violations for damaged sidewalks.


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