Reporting Cambi Brown
FAIRFIELD (CBS13) — The confusion over who owns land that wasn’t maintained before a fire ripped through and destroyed five homes is pitting homeowners against the city.
After looking at maps of the homes along Marigold Drive, Fairfield Public Works Director George Hicks says he’s now able to answer our question: Who owns the land between a chain link fence and the Interstate 80 soundwall?
In short, he says it’s the homeowner’s property.
Homeowners are furious, saying since they bought the homes more than three decades ago, the city has taken care of that area.
“The city has cut brush and sprayed for mosquitoes over the years.”
After asking more questions, CBS13 found out the city stopped using a drainage easement back in the ’90s. Homeowners say a chain-link fence was put up, keeping them from maintaining the property.
“We’ve never been able to have access to it so i don’t believe that. There’s a sign down the street that says city property.”
And right down the street, the sign clearly says city property. That fence encloses the other chain-link fences behind the homes.
Even though the public works director says the property belongs to homeowners, he can’t answer all of our questions.
We asked him about who was responsible, to which he replied, “We don’t have enough information at this point.”
Homeowners say if it’s truly their land, why aren’t they allowed to do something with it?
“You can’t tell me 20-plus homes all agreed to not take extra land—to put in a swimming pool, something for their kids, a dog run—if it was theirs to use.”
We’re told the city of Fairfield will now go back and look at 40 years of history to find out what their obligation is with that property.
Property owners think a potential lawsuit against the city in the matter could be successful in part because they have never paid property taxes on that extra land.