From the Queens Courier:
At a dead end in Whitestone, a colorful garden encircled by stone extends from the fence of a mustard-colored stucco home and into the middle of a city street.
The property owner of the house, located at 148-12 on 2nd Avenue, was issued a summons by the Department of Transportation (DOT) on April 1, 2010, that found the projections, including the garden and the fence, impinge on city property.
The department ordered homeowner Rocco Sacco to remove the structures. After failing to comply, he was issued three more summonses over a period of several months. But, the matter dates back much further.
At the Environmental Control Board (ECB) hearing held on May 4, 2011, a DOT representative affirmed the charges against Sacco comprised of four violations for “encroaching on city property” by building a fence on the sidewalk and a garden in the street.
However, Sacco’s representative, Carl Sulfaro, contested the violations, saying that Sacco did not plant the garden, does not have jurisdiction over it and does not own it, according to the ECB hearing document.
After the DOT representative presented photos and a property information sheet of the site, Administrative Law Judge Loriann Hellmann found that the DOT did not meet its burden to show that the encroachments were either on city property or out of the bounds of Sacco’s property. She also found that the DOT failed to show that Sacco actually planted the garden on the street.
Hellmann dismissed all four violations. The DOT now has 30 days to appeal this ruling.