Little bit ‘o land squabble settles out of court

Little bit ‘o land squabble settles out of court
Photo by Paul Martinka

The biggest little land squabble in Midwood’s history is over.

A property line dispute between two E. 29th Street neighbors — which ended up becoming a federal case — settled out of court last week, their lawyers confirmed.

“We’re very pleased with the settlement,” Evan Mandel, who is representing Hanoch and Eris Halevy, said last Thursday.

Mandel would not elaborate on the terms of the settlement, since both parties signed a confidentiality agreement

Marsha Stickler sued the Halevys, her neighbors between Avenues I and J, for $1 million after the couple tore out a fence and shrub that blocked the side alley between the two houses, replacing it with their own fence. The daring move sparked a bitter battle over who actually owned the property — a three-foot strip of land.

According to city records, the land belongs to the Halevys, who bought the property in 2006.

But Stickler said she should have the land since she’s maintained the puny parcel since 1962, when she bought her property.

The case was sent to federal court because Stickler now lives in New Jersey and she was suing for more than $75,000.

Legendary federal court judge Jack Weinstein was given the case and made the rare step of personally visiting the property on June 21 to examine the evidence.

The Halevys tried to get the case tossed, but Weinstein refused. A loophole in the law could give Stickler squatters rights over the property, he said.

“‘Good fences make good neighbors,’ ” the judge wrote in his decision, quoting Robert Frost. But “only when they agree on the line between their properties.”