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Forest Hills resident blasts decrepit house

Maria Franco stands in front of a door to her neighbor's house, which she says is completely filled with garbage. Photo by Joe Anuta
TimesLedger Newspapers

The city has fined a negligent property owner over his decrepit Forest Hills home a dozen times, and although neighbors said the rat-filled abode has only gotten worse, city inspectors have said it is up to snuff several times.

Maria Franco lives next door to 93-07 69th Ave., a home which she said has been used as a dumping ground by its owner for decades.

“This is 25 years now it has been vacated, but they just been throwing garbage into the house all those years,” she said. “From the floor to the ceiling.”

Curtains obscure the broken front windows of the house, but bags of garbage can be seen bulging against the fabric from the inside.

Just inside the back door, as Franco said, the garbage is literally stacked from the floor to the ceiling.

An orange shopping cart, a car tire, luggage and old speakers are just some of the dusty items stacked up just inside the back door.

The house is registered under the name of Nancy Chao Sun, according to city Department of Buildings documents.

But news reports have named Stewart Sun as the caretaker of the property.

Sun said he was “not interested” in talking with TimesLedger Newspapers after numerous attempts to get comment on the house.

Franco has repeatedly complained to the DOB about the property, and DOB inspectors have inspected it 22 times after complaints were filed, according to department documents.

The first complaint ranges back to 1996, and the DOB notified the owner that two cars were being illegally stored in the rear of the house.

But many of the complaints, which describe the collapsing roof and the garbage in the house, were dismissed by DOB inspectors.

One note from a September 2004 inspection read: “No overgrown weeds at this fully attached vacant house [sic] house is in good condition.”

Last year, the house was deemed “unsafe,” and according to a DOB spokeswoman it was sealed off, which is why it remained in compliance.

But a window on the second floor is broken out and is wide open to the elements, and the back is accessible via a flimsy metal door which comes open at the turn of the handle.

But after more complaints placed to DOB last month, a violation was issued Nov. 4 that stated the house was vacant, unguarded and required immediate attention by the owner.

Before the most recent violation, Franco had complained repeatedly about a broken gutter, which Buildings dismissed. But two weeks ago after a rainstorm, water was dripping from the house’s broken gutter in the back and forming a puddle near Franco’s basement.

Over the years, that standing water has eroded the soil under her driveway, causing it to partially collapse and has caused mold and uneven floors in her basement, she said.

The Environmental Control Board, which issues fines for DOB violations after a trial, has held 12 total hearings about the property and fined the owner $29,000 for violations.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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