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NY1 For You: Brooklyn Landmark House Owner Says City Went Back on Tree Damage Deal

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The owner of a land-marked Brooklyn house turned to "NY1 For You" after a city tree damaged his property and the city asked him to pay to have it removed. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following report.

Homeowner Leslie Zafra says he's stumped by the remains of this city tree.

"It will continue to damage the property if it's not fixed," Zafra says.

It's a condition the Brooklyn homeowner says the Parks Department promised to fix after he paid to remove a city tree that was ripping up his sidewalk.

Back in January, we told you about Zafra's growing problem: a healthy city tree that was creating an unhealthy situation, as its roots were slowly destroying Zafra's property.

"We received a letter from the forestry department explaining that after careful evaluation, we have the permission now to remove the tree. However, we would have to make a check payable to the city Department of Parks for $19,095 for restitution," Zafra says.

At the time, we called the Parks Department. After looking into the situation a spokeswoman said the agency revisited their calculations and cut their restitution fee in half asking for a little over $8,000 instead of $19,000 in order for a permit to be issued to remove the tree.

Zafra would also have to pay to have the tree removed and repair the sidewalk.

Shortly after though, Parks sent this letter to Zafra offering to repair the sidewalk if he pays to remove the tree. That was in April, and now Zafra's says the city has completely changed it's tune.

"We paid them the restitution, we've paid the tree company to remove the tree, and we were told that once that's done, then they would send a contractor to fix our property but so far we've heard nothing," Zafra says.

We reached out to Parks again and a spokeswoman told us, "The tree issue has been resolved and the homeowner is now responsible for fixing his property." That statement completely contradicts the agency's agreement with Zafra.

"It's only fair that they should fulfill their obligation" Zafra says.

We will keep you updated.

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