Neighbors in dispute over steps in Greenfield; City contesting sale of lot
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:30:44 -0400
Homeowners who recently bought a lot next to their property in Pittsburgh’s Greenfield neighborhood say their now having to defend themselves against former friends and the city because of their decision to put up a fence around a set of steps.
"I shouldn't have to fight for something that I paid taxes on, and I legally own,” Beth Cronin said.
Beth Cronin and Skip Cronin purchased a vacant lot next to their home in an auction. They showed Channel 11 the deed and paperwork that indicates the land includes a portion at the end of Coyne Terrace with a grassy area and steps facing Winterburn Avenue.
Neighbors, including Lynn Gagne and her son who live on Coyne Terrace, said they have used the steps for years as a short cut to the bus stop and Schenley Park.
"Now I can't use it. It's completely blocked off, which is not good for us,” Gagne said.
The Cronins said when they bought the lot, they no longer wanted people using the steps for liability purposes. They said when they told people to stay off, some neighbors became furious and rumors spread that residents were planning to throw themselves down the steps on purpose just to sue them.
Those rumors led the couple to put up “No Trespassing” signs.
"We're being done really dirty here, and we didn't do anything wrong,” Beth Cronin said.
"Essentially, all it is is that people still want to be able to use those steps,” Gagne said.
The Cronins said their neighbors aren’t their only problem. Beth Cronin said in June of 2014 she got a letter saying the sale of the lot was illegal and the city was rescinding the deal. She maintains that she bought the lot legally and had paid taxes on it.
"I didn't do nothing wrong, and I have the documentation to prove it,” she said.
Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor, whose district includes Greenfield, said there have been conversations about private lawsuits regarding the lot.
Amie Downs, with Allegheny County, confirmed that the sale was a city treasurer’s sale but didn’t offer any additional details. She said information about the lot goes back to the 1930s and that the matter is being looked into.