Bank cleared to clean lot

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A major bank has been granted legal permission to clean and maintain an abandoned six-acre lot in Whitestone, which neighbors say has become a hotbed for wild animals and overgrown weeds.

The undeveloped 150-33 6th Avenue site has been neglected for more than a year, according to the site’s next door neighbor, Artie McCrossen. It is currently in the midst of a foreclosure action by OneWest Bank.

Four-foot high weeds, wild raccoons, possums and mosquitos started to call the unkempt yard home, McCrossen said, after property owner Whitestone Jewels stopped maintaining the land.

OneWest Bank announced two weeks ago it has gained court approval to access and fix the vacant site, according to State Senator Tony Avella.

“This is welcome news for residents of Whitestone,” Avella said. “This vacant property had become an eyesore in the community for far too long and it is a shame that it was allowed to deteriorate like this.”

Still, McCrossen, who is surrounded on three sides by the problematic land, said he will only “believe it when he sees it.”

“People talk and nothing goes on. I haven’t seen anything in two weeks,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. The issue was never resolved. It’s a shame, and it really annoys me that the city isn’t taking any kind of action against the piece of property.”

McCrossen, 59, said he has seen trucks illegally dumping dirt and materials onto the land and has taken it upon himself to repair damage made to the property after superstorm Sandy.

“There’s a garage right next to me, and metal pieces of the roof were flying off. I had to go screw them down so they wouldn’t hit me, my son or my wife when we walk outside,” McCrossen said. “It’s now a safety issue. I don’t think the bank knows.”

The retired firefighter said he even had to shell out $400 when a rogue possum attacked his dog in his backyard at night.

“Every time I let my dog out at night, I’m concerned there are going to be more possums or raccoons. I don’t know what the hell is back there,” he said.

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