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Gate dispute pits neighbor vs. neighbor

October 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's neighbor vs. neighbor in a feud that focuses around a gate. Residents say the barrier has made it very tough to get to their homes. It's a battle pitting one resident against another, and it began when a steel gate was erected on a road, a gate several people claim blocks access to their homes. This simmering dispute is going on in Lincoln Heights."It's horrible. As much as I have been here all my life, I have never had this kind of problem. Never," said Maria Freyre.

Maria Freyre has lived here for 45 years. Now, she has to squeeze through the gate, walk on the edge of a steep hill, and then go a quarter-mile to get to her home.

"They're trying to tell you that you're getting close to their private property," said Freyre. "This is where the cones are. This is where supposedly it starts. And then it goes to, there's another sign over there. And that's the part that's private? Yes."

"Basically, it's a property rights issue now. It's something the city has not taken care of," said Lincoln Heights resident Gardner Compton.

Gardner Compton put up the gate a week ago, but he says the dispute has been going on for several years. He says he's been harassed by his neighbors.

"I was planting my bamboo over here on my private property. And one 35-year-old woman came and beat me up," said Compton.

The dispute is over who owns what. Compton says, through a trust, he owns a number of lots in the area and claims one of those runs across the road. Several neighbors dispute that. They say the documents date back to the 1920s and there are some discrepancies. Norma Enrique says as long as she has been here, it's been a public road.

"We have an easement. And, it wasn't just them in general, it was everyone that said that we had an easement, because we had been here the longest. So, it's beyond upsetting. We're trapped. We're literally trapped," said resident Norma Enriquez.

And some neighbors agree with Compton. They say ever since he moved in, a few others just don't seem to like him.

"They are very vindictive, and physically just, just making his life really miserable," said local resident "Annie."

Neighbors said they've contacted their Councilman, Ed Reyes, to try to get this resolved. Eyewitness News called Reyes's office Thursday but did not receive a response.


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