NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Flavio La Rocca has exploited for his own benefit decades of confusion by the City of New Rochelle over property near City Park given to the City over a century ago. East Street (and East Place which runs into East Street from Ashland Street at a 90 degree angle) sit on a parcel of land transferred to the City of New Rochelle just prior to the outbreak of World War I. The parcel was deeded to the City of New Rochelle by Hadert Realty Company in 1914.
On June 2, 1914, the New Rochelle City Council passed a resolution to “accept” streets. To be accepted as a street, a road must meet certain standards. For reasons that remain unclear, these two streets were not included in the resolution, thus leaving their status as unaccepted City streets. In the years since, East Place was paved contiguously by the City, it is marked with a City street sign that reads “East Place”, there is a City sewer line that runs under East Place, and the City provides snow removal and garbage/recycling pick up. Yet, there are two street signs at the intersection of Ashland Street and East Placing indicating that East Place is a “private road”. East Street, is not marked by any street signs, there is a City sewer line that runs under East Street, the City does not provide snow removal or garbage/recycling pick up. East Place appears on maps; East Street does not appear on maps. Both streets sit on City property.
Adding to the confusion is the designation of City property to the east of East Street as parkland except for a strip of land just to the immediate east of East Street which is City property but not designated parkland, except for a portion of that strip which was designated as parkland in 2006 to create the Sidney Frank Skate Park.
Flavio La Rocca and his wife Maria La Rocca were vocal in their opposition to plans by the City of New Rochelle to move the Department of Public Works yard to East Street near City Park where they operate their business, F. La Rocca & Sons. It would appear their concerns were largely based on their fear of losing control of large sections of the East Street area which they have misappropriated, which they do not pay for and for space they would certainly need to pay for if they moved out of New Rochelle.
A survey map prepared last year in anticipation of moving the DPW yard shows that the La Rocca property at the corner of East Street and Fifth Avenue has been extended beyond the property line and on to City property through the construction of fences, gates, jersey barriers and masonry walls.
The extent of the La Rocca land grab goes far beyond the FMLR LLC parcel, encompassing many times the amount of property owned or leased by F. La Rocca & Sons.
Bit by bit, Flavio La Rocca has been gobbling up city property by clearing trees, bulldozing traffic islands, setting down a gauntlet of concrete jersey barriers and paving over every square inch of city property on both sides of East Street and well beyond. The primary purpose appears to have been to widen the road, create turnaround areas and provide parking for his pick up trucks and heavy equipment as well as his employees.
The survey map above indicates 5 areas on or around East Street that have been significantly altered.
Section A indicates a large portion of City property between East Street and City Park that has been cleared, paved and ringed with concrete Jersey barriers, an area directly across East Street from the Guglielmo Property which is primarily used to store heavy equipment owned by F. LaRocca & Sons.
Section B indicates a traffic peninsula ringed by a curb, filled with dirt to form a tree pit upon which 1 large tree and several smaller trees were planted. In the past few weeks, Flavio La Rocca cut down the trees, remove the traffic peninsula, paved it over and added the area to the “parking lot” which runs along the west edge of East Street.
Section C indicates a blacktop curb area which has been removed between now and December 2014.
Section D indicates the area of City property along the west edge of East Street where La Rocca and his neighbor, Jay Allen, have extended out their properties about 10 feet onto City property. There is some lesser extension in front of property owned by J & C DiPietro and PAB Landscaping.
Section E indicates a long strip east of East Street which has been paved over and lined with concrete jersey barriers.
None of this construction work entailing the conversion of public property for private use was authorized by the City of New Rochelle. This encroachment and illegal land grab by Flavio La Rocca strongly suggests that he was aware of the confusion surrounding this property and was taking advantage of the situation.
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