If you are driving up Clintonville Street near St. Luke’s church in Whitestone, one house on the block clearly stands out – and not in a good way.
The boarded up house located at 15-46 Clintonville Street, looks from the outside like a fire recently tore through it, but it has been vacant for the past two years. In addition, the property has also been the subject of numerous Department of Building (DOB) complaints, a hideout for kids and homeless persons and a glorified trash can, and some residents are tired of looking at the blight on their block.
“It’s pathetic,” said Rose Marie Milcetic, who lives in one of the houses next to the property. “I drive all around Whitestone, and I don’t see any house that looks this way, and I pay $6,000 in taxes here every year.”
The saga began more than two years ago when Everton McIntyre purchased the property with the intention of renovating the house and living there himself, according to McIntyre’s attorney Darmin Bachu. However, as the economy began its downward spiral, McIntyre’s finances ran thin, and the renovation plans were put on hold.
“The neighbors have to realize that the place was a dump to begin with,” Bachu said. “He is doing everything he can to unload the property.”
In the meantime, the property continued to deteriorate, and the garbage continued to pile up at the house, according to neighbors.
Milcetic said she often cleaned the area outside her house three times a day because the debris and trash left at McIntyre’s property would often blow over to her property, and she even received tickets for not keeping her lot clean. She also said that her upstairs apartment went vacant for more than a year because the sight of the property next to hers turned interested parties off from renting her apartment.
“It’s horrific,” Milcetic said. “We came here; we struggled to pay this house off. We take pride in this house.”
It got so bad that Milcetic sought out McIntyre’s home address in another part of Whitestone, and she went over to his house to talk to him about his unkempt property.
“There isn’t a piece of paper there. It’s so well kept. How does he have the audacity to live in such a nice area and not clean it [the Clintonville Street property]?” Milcetic said. “The better question is how is he allowed by the municipalities to do this to us, the neighborhood? We’re all up in arms about it. We’re all upset about it.”
Rosie Mastromauro, 55, lives in the house on the other side of the vacant property, and she is also disturbed by the situation.
“I think it’s terrible. There are people going in and out of there at night. I keep calling 3-1-1,” Mastromauro said, in order to report the kids breaking into the boarded up house. “It’s getting worse and worse and worse.”
After calls to the Department of Buildings, the neighbors even solicited the help of State Senator Frank Padavan, who has a district office located near the property. Padavan said his office has an extensive file on the property, and he has written letters to city agencies in support of the community. Padavan received a response from the DOB in August of 2008 that said the property was declared an unsafe building, which could pave the way for demolition.
“I’m doing everything I can to work with the city agencies to get them to do whatever they can,” Padavan said.
Meanwhile, Bachu said that McIntyre has fallen behind on the mortgage payments, and the property is now in foreclosure. McIntyre has a potential buyer for the property, but he is currently in negotiations with the bank over the property.
“He ran out of money,” Bachu said. “The only way to bail himself out was to sell the property.”
Currently, the property has a sign on it for those interested in the property to call NFH – a local estate firm headed by Norman Hanlon.
“It’s in no one’s interest for this property to remain foul, and no one wants it that way,” Hanlon said.