From the Times Ledger:
Residents have long been concerned about the houses on Manse Street and 69th Avenue and have been filing complaints with the city about the sites for two years.
The house at 70-23 Manse St. has racked up $34,000 in fines in city Department of Buildings violations, including failure to fix a hole in the roof and maintain the structure’s walls. The house at 90-17 69th Ave. has been slapped with $22,000 in fines from the DOB for such violations as conducting work without a permit and illegal occupancy. Stuchinski said the house has been illegally converted into an eight-bedroom unit.
The Manse Street unit is owned by Marilyn Hargrove, according to city records. Neighbors said Hargrove has long lived in the house, but noted they have not seen her in a while, which they said raised concerns that she is dead. No one answered when a reporter knocked on the door last week and a phone number for Hargrove is not listed.
With weeds growing more than two stories high, Hargrove’s house has been a persistent eyesore in a quiet neighborhood where residents take pride in taking care of their homes, Stuchinski said. Since many of the homes were built in the 1920s, the Forest Hills neighborhood has been relatively well-maintained and has attracted a number of foreign diplomats, including the Indonesian ambassador to the United Nations, Stuchinski said.
The house on Manse Street could pose dangerous to neighbors and passersby because of its dilapidated state, including a roof that has partially caved in, Stuchinski said.
Several blocks from the Manse Street house, the house at 69th Avenue has been served with a partial vacate order due to what the city said was illegal occupation, as well as a stop work order due to conducting construction without a permit.