Problems In A Fulton Neighborhood, Revisited

Garbage piled on the side of a house
102 W. 2nd St., left side of the property. Photo by: Kassadee Paulo

FULTON – Just a few weeks ago, Fulton DPW cleared garbage from the exterior of 102 W. 2nd St., including the roof, and it is already beginning to pile up again.

First Ward Councilor Tom Kenyon has been working on clearing out the house for almost two years, but keeps getting hit by roadblocks.

“Everything was clean, and here we are again,” Kenyon said. “The only one’s who are living there are squatters.”

It has no running water and an extension cord to the neighboring rental unit is the only source of electricity. The copper piping has been stripped. The windows are all open to provide a breeze in the summer heat and some are painted over except for apparent lookout spots. Garbage is again on the roof and around the sides of the property.

Under New York State law, squatters are classified as tenants and receive temporary rights for 30 days after they have stayed there for three days, according to Kenyon. After that, the owner has to proceed with a legal eviction process.

“Assuming the prior owner allowed them to stay there at some point, that’s generally how they establish residency,” said Fulton Police Chief Orlo Green. “We still don’t have the authority to remove them from the property; it’s the homeowner’s right to have them evicted. It’s still private property. It’s not public property.”

Chief Green said there have been multiple arrests made for people on that property.

A neighbor, Tabitha Dingman, said just last week one of the people staying there, the father of a five-year-old girl, died on Friday after an ambulance brought him to the hospital Tuesday.

Before the man died, Dingman said someone from Child Protective Services came to check on the little girl and once he saw the conditions, would have taken her if she were there.

The property was attempted to be sold at auction in June by a bank from California that now owns it. Kenyon said they were asking for $71,500 minimum for it and used photos from several years ago, way before it looked like it does now. No one took it.

“There’s nothing in the house now,” Dingman said. “They’ve taken all the pipes out; it stinks; it’s disgusting in there.”

Dingman said another neighbor noticed it is back on the market and another auction is planned for half the cost.

Kenyon said the city is charging that bank by putting it on their taxes for the work DPW did to clear the garbage that is already forming again.

“We’re not going to keep doing this, and we won’t do this no more,” Kenyon said.

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A boarded up building
An old building on West First Street is boarded up.

The first ward in Fulton is not the only one with this kind of issue. A second ward abandoned building on West First Street was once a business with rental space above, but now is boarded up.

While Kenyon has been dealing with the rental property on West Second Street, Second Ward Councilor Dave Ritchie has been trying to get something done with this property for almost four years. Ritchie also has faced challenges in dealing with the building.

Kenyon and Ritchie said the biggest obstacle they face when trying to get something done with these buildings is finding and serving the owners to take them to court.

He said the city has not been able to find the owner, who he said lives in Skaneateles. The city cannot do anything with it without the owner. Ritchie said when it goes to get knocked down, it should not be on the taxpayers to fund it.

“I think we gotta spend money to get people to go find them,” Ritchie said. “We’re not going to pay to knock it down, I’ll tell you that.”

The neighbor said she has seen two people squatting in the building and warned against going upstairs into the building in case of stepping on needles.

Kenyon called the mayor’s office to report the alleged squatters living in the building with no water and no electricity.

Chief Green did go to the building on West First Street Tuesday, July 23, and said there were currently no squatters there.

Chief Green said the second floor is basically inaccessible because the stairwell is collapsed, but was able to get up there to look around for signs of squatters, like wrappers, clothing or blankets. He said he found no evidence of people staying there.

He said a work order was put in Tuesday to secure the building again to make sure no one can get in.

“We just want our quality of life again in our neighborhoods,” Kenyon said. “[Ritchie] takes a bum rap on this building every day, and it’s not his fault.”

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15 Comments

  1. Just leave it for the next generation to take care of…just like the rest of the mess that has been created by this regime….i personally sleep well at night..but i bet a few of you dont sleep well without the aid of medicine..thanks for all the b.s.now go away

  2. Is anyone surprised that vacant buildings are being used by squatters a.k.a. druggies? … Is anyone surprised that Fulton has so many vacant buildings/homes? … This city has gone to crap and has gotten worse under this mayor … almost to the end of his term and NOW he starts looking into doing this and that …

    The already crowded together Hewlitt Park is getting the splash pad while John Lincoln Park has nothing but 2 swing sets … Rec park offers more, including tons of goose poop … Voorhees park has a small, very nice play area and a ton of open space … I personally cannot standing in this city any more but I have 2 grandchildren I can’t uproot from their familiar school and their friends to move away …

  3. I am sure there is an abandonment law for properties. Maybe that should be looked into. What happened to cracking down on the slumlords. This should of been taken care a year ago. My Grandmother lived in the house next door when I was growing up that is now for sale. It’s sad that the person living there has to sell after only being there for a short time because our city just doesn’t care. It’s funny how Tax Payers are the ones that suffer. Hopefully the New Mayor will get these drug houses shut down!!

  4. If the mayor of the city of Fulton Ronnie Woodward can’t pass a city ordinance law no squatter’s rights then they can condemn the building don’t let them BS you all it’s just another way for them to get money out of Banks without doing nothing about it.ron Woodward would not let this happen in his ward the flats . So why let it happen here. The city of Fulton used. To be a great place .even after it was going to the dumps and all the loser from the west & south side of syracuse moved in. The police are more worried about speeding tickets and drunk people then the drugs in places like that. There motto.is we know were they are when something comes up stolen. Now a man died a little baby was left ..what would happen if that baby was sold on the black market…then who is to blame. I blame the mayor and the City Council you’re not doing their job

  5. IT is the liberality of the NYS Renter’s Laws that help create these problems. As a landlord in CNY, it appalls me how many rights the tenants have and property owners who pay for the very taxes that the State uses to ‘enforce’ these laws do not. At the State Fair there use to be two pamphlets visitors could get. One was tenant’s rights and the other was landlord rights. As of around 10 years ago, there were no longer any pamphlets for landlord rights. Funny thing about that.

    HOW in the heck can squatters have rights over the property owners, esp. if they are destroying the properties (no pipes, human feces, vomit, etc.) so that these properties become derelect and worthless and havens for the illegal drug trafficking populations?

  6. The building I have lived in for four years is fast going down hell in appearances since two families have moved in recently and its not far from this one. Of whom some of those who are in that house or around it now stop in and pass through my hallway. You should see the garbage built up in front of the apt building now.

  7. Just drove by this building tonight, one woman was standing in the front doorway smoking, another person was sitting on a bicycle,yesterday in plain daylight the same guy was walking into the house after leaving his bicycle on the front steps. There’s always people there, day and night. A mall cop could see that

  8. If the POLICE did more than sit at the office,this town wouldn’t be so bad,they need to get out,WALK A BEAT,let people know they are sick of it.32 Police officers in this town,but yet FULTON, LITTLE TOWN ON NARCOTICS.What happens when you enter liverpool,you go at 30mph,because you know,here they do 50 last the police station.More tickets are written by The NYS Troopers than by the Fulton police dept.

  9. The Keystone cops would do a better job than these cops,drive by the dept at any given time,day or night and your lucky if you see one police car gone,people drive by this station at 50 mph plus,no sign of a cop,except at the station.They know where all this stuff is going on,people report it,but the response time is so slow,the people are in Syracuse by the time Fulton pd shows up.Price chopper,major hot spot,people surrounding vehicles to get their shit,but never a cop to be seen,so the employees don’t bother calling,people are so used to NOT seeing cops that they do what they want in this town.

  10. Drove by literally 10 mins ago,place is wide open,4 people sitting outside,thought the chief stated,no more squatters are there,securing the building,perfect example of shotty police work,the cops don’t care,lazy,as taxpayers,you pay them,they work for you,come on Fulton residents “GROW A SET,DEMAND THE POLICE DO THEIR JOB,NOT JUST SAY THEY ARE GOING TO

  11. Fix the city backup oswego county has no homeless shelter yet we have homeless people in this county. Take some these abandoned buildings and do something with them. Theres also need for more low income housing. Employment is not best in county but there does need to be a change. Maybe a treatment place for people to have access to help other then just farnham. People need hope. Theres some bad no matter where you live.

  12. Like i said before…this regime in the city hall HAS TO GO….they are only in it for them selves…what about richys new property on the corner of w.second st…hmm trash everywhere…sidewalk is blocked most of the time …come on fulton ..get out and VOTE..then we can start fresh..

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