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City Sues Contractor for Using Public Park as Private Storage Site

By Katie Honan | November 30, 2016 4:24pm
 The owner of C&M Roofing allegedly built a fence around a part of Landing Lights Park in East Elmhurst
The owner of C&M Roofing allegedly built a fence around a part of Landing Lights Park in East Elmhurst
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

EAST ELMHURST — A longtime construction company located right next to LaGuardia Airport could get the boot by the city — after allegedly taking over a section of a public park to use as a personal storage area.

C&M Roofing, located inside owner Bob Myers' home on 24th Ave. and 82nd Street, illegally installed three fences to extend the home's back yard into the adjacent Landing Lights Park, according to a lawsuit filed by the city in Manhattan Supreme Court on Nov. 17.

Myers has cut off public access to the green space and is "effectively treating a substantial portion of the subject property as an extension of the rear yard," they said.

At an unknown date he built a wood fence, a gate, a metal shed and two driveways on what is the city's land, according to the lawsuit. Last year he installed a new metal fence, and gravel for drainage, the suit says.

Now the city is moving to take back the disputed land, alleging Myers has created a public nuisance and is trespassing in the park. They also said he's caused damage to the park's vegetation by trespassing. 

The Parks Department issued two tickets to Myers in 2014, alleging he destroyed vegetation in the park and was storing materials without the agency's permission, documents show. 

He failed to attend a June 2014 hearing, according to the city. 

Reached by phone, Myers said he hadn't seen the lawsuit but said his family first rented the home in the 1950s, before the park even opened. He also said he wasn't aware of the previous tickets.

He declined to comment further.

According to the city he had inherited the home from his parents after his father died in 2000 and has continued the family's roofing business out of the home.

On Wednesday afternoon, a C&M truck was parked at Landing Lights, which was built in 1958 out of nine pieces of land turned over by the Port Authority.

The scattered park follows the landing pattern of LaGuardia Airport, and the space is required by the Federal Aviation Administration to remain clear, according to the Parks Department.