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Flushing lot controversy persists

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One of the parties responsible for the Flushing lot said neighbors should be thankful to them for clearing out a lot that had been abandoned for more than 25 years.

Two weeks ago, neighbors celebrated the clearing of a Flushing lot that they said was being used illegally as storage for a tree service. The 40-24 149th St. residential lot was taken over Oct. 12 by Fresh Meadows-based Arnoldo’s Tree Service, according to neighbor Daniel Hollingworth. The lot has been under the management of Frank Camisi of Whitestone-based Camisi Construction LLC, since last year. Neighbors believed Camisi was loaning the lot to Arnoldo’s for storage of their trucks.

But one of the parties managing the lot, who did not want to be identified by name, said neighbors have the story all wrong. He is disputing neighbors’ claims that the company was using the lot as illegal storage and said the lot was being cleared out because it was unusable and disgusting after years of neglect.

“It was not storage,” one of the managers said. “The tree company cleared up all the mess that had been there for the past 25 years. They were there for three to four months because there was a lot to clean up. DOB contacted us. We were not completely aware of what happened, but once they contacted us we completely cleared it. I’m surprised the neighbors are complaining. That place was a complete disaster, it was horrible.”

The manager said it cost almost $50,000 to clean the lot because it was in such poor condition and the owners would not have gotten insurance unless it was cleared. He also added that they understood the neighbors’ complaints about the excessive noise Arnoldo’s would make and that they were there for longer than planned, but as soon as the owners received a notice from the Department of Buildings to clear the lot, the tree service crew left immediately.

“It took that long to cut all trees and shrubs and then they brought in a lot of dirt and gravel,” he said. The manager said when contractors first began the cleanup, they thought they would find dead animals. He said he expected neighbors would be happy that someone finally took the steps to clear the lot and was shocked that they complained.

Arnoldo’s crew left the lot on April 22, but neighbors said the remaining debris is still an eyesore

“We’re happy, yes, but not 100 percent because of the way they left it,” Hollingworth said. “It stinks. If you would take a look at it, there are holes all over the place with cement blocks everywhere and left-behind wood. The dirt is all messed up and I noticed there is this white crustation. I don’t know if that’s because of chemicals that were spilled.”

The manager said the neighbors complaining about left-over logs is nonsense and that they should be on cloud nine.

“How can they possibly even compare that property to what it was for so many years, I don’t get it,” hesaid. “There were weeds 15 feet high, trees 30 feet high. The lot is parallel to the Long Island Railroad tracks and LIRR sent notices to the owners to try to clean up in case of any maintenance. God forbid if there was an accident or any repairs to be made to the retaining walls. Engineers would not have set foot on the property. Now they’re complaining because of a couple of logs. You couldn’t even open the gate with the mosquitoes and animals. We cleared away a 30-yard-long container of trash, not even counting the trees.”

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

Posted 12:00 am, May 11, 2018
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