Bitter fight over neighbours’ laneway
WHEN David and Melanie Marcellino contacted Ryde City Council in the north west of Sydney to complain about how their next-door neighbour was using their shared laneway, the couple didn't think it would end in a $50,000 bill.
Mr and Mrs Marcellino live on Olive St in the northwest Sydney suburb and for decades had been sharing Jurds Lane, a rough, gravelled road, with their next-door neighbour.
In their 27 years living in the home, the Marcellinos had used the laneway exclusively as a back driveway, but recently, their next-door neighbour had started leaving things in Jurds Lane that stopped them from doing that.
The neighbours, in the middle of renovations, also started leaving building materials and tools stacked up against the fence.
The Marcellinos lodged a complaint with Ryde City Council over the lane-hogging after spending the past 27 years believing the land was owned by the council.
But the laneway isn't owned by Ryde City Council, a conclusion the council came to after employing a genealogist to trace the original ownership of the land all the way back to 1853.
The council then billed ratepayers $50,000 for the investigation.
"(The council) think they can treat people however they like and take no responsibility," Ms Marcellino told the current affairs program.
"It's been stressful and time-consuming. We want an apology from council and we just want it to be over with."
The current owner of Jurds Lane is a man named David Starr, who lives 650km away in the NSW-Victoria border town of Mulwala.
Local councillor Jordan Lane said the responsibility should fall on Ryde City Council to clean up its mistake.
"I think what's disappointing is that we've uncovered this mistake, and I was brought up with the view that you 'fess up and you try and fix it," Mr Lane said.
Despite the Sydney couple wanting the drama to be over with, the Marcellinos' fight with Ryde City Council is expected to go all the way to the Supreme Court.
"It's not over yet, because it's got to go through the Supreme Court," Mr Marcellino said.
"It's going to take a few more years, so it's just going to end up like this for a few more years. This is how it'll stay."