Victorio Campos and his wife, Eileen, bought their Rosedale home for its secluded location, scenic view of wetlands and array of wildlife, but now they say it is those very things that are causing problems, and they wish the city would take action to help.
In 2004, the road in front of 148-53 235 St. was covered with gravel, but after the mammoth snow storm that crippled the city at the end of December 2010, Campos said the Department of Sanitation plowed the street, leaving only a dirt road behind.
Campos said he asked the city workers not to plow the street, but to put down salt instead, explaining that the road was not paved, but they did not listen to him.
“I don’t have a street,” Campos said. “I have dirt. If you can just put crushed concrete from the recycling place or just gravel to alleviate water from sitting here, I don’t have a problem with that. I can wait for it to be paved, just help me out with this situation with the dirt.”
The unlevel land collects water when it rains, is dangerous to walk over and has become the site of illegal dumping, Campos said. The latest discarded debris consisted of broken bricks and concrete.
Campos also said he had to consistently argue with the DOS to get workers to pick up garbage from the trash cans in front of his house. He said they wanted him leave it at the end of the street. “I said, ‘When I get a paycheck from the city, then I’ll haul it to the corner,’” Campos recalled.
The area is bordered by the wetlands of Idlewild Park, but there is no barrier separating it from Camposes’ property, allowing animals such as raccoons to make their way near their house and it’s a summertime haven for insects.
“Our son suffered very bad mosquito bites last year,” Eileen Campos said. “He’s allergic, so it’s very hard for him to come outside.”
Donovan Richards, chief of staff to City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton), said part of the problem is that the road is not a mapped city street and is adjacent to federally owned wetlands, with repairs requiring the approval of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
“So we have to go through legal red tape while this guy suffers,” Richards said. “And he has been suffering for a long time.”
Campos said when he contacted the city Department of Transportation, staffers told him it was a private street, but when he responded by telling them he was going to fence it off and treat it as part of his property, they said they would have to investigate further. “Then two days later they said it was a public street, so if it’s a public street, then they should help me out,” Campos said.
About two months ago there was a water main break. Eileen Campos said she woke up to find what appeared to be a steaming geyser in front of their house. A DEP repair crew fixed the problem, but left behind a four-foot deep hole that still hasn’t been filled in, the Camposes said.
Mercedes Padilla, a spokeswoman for the DEP, said there is a $14 million joint project with the DOT set to begin in the area in 2016. It includes street reconstruction as well as the installation of new storm and sanitary sewers.
But that’s not soon enough for Campos and Richards, as well as Bill Perkins, the president of the Rosedale Civic Association, who said the group will advocate on the family’s behalf to try and get the project moved up.
“The city hasn’t done what it needs to do,” Perkins said. “He pays his taxes. He should have the same benefits of having a road and paved street like any other resident. The greater Rosedale population, we feel for this gentleman here.”