Bronx developer Mark Stagg is at odds with persistent, crusading squatter Garland Roberts over the fate of a foreclosed-on and decrepit stable at 1680 Pelham Parkway South near Stillwell Avenue. The Times reports that the elder Roberts has been living in the condemned stable for the past year, despite new site owner Stagg's attempts to remove Roberts from the barn in order to proceed with his plan to build 130 apartments at the site. Stagg has tried the methods de riguer for ousting unwanted personsboarding the stable doors, cutting its power linesbut Roberts has persisted, and has even built an argument for the barn to stay.
...Mr. Roberts remains, devising a seemingly endless set of legal tactics to challenge the development, including claiming that it contains toxins, asserting squatters' rights and saying that the property's geology cannot support Mr. Stagg's building. In making yet another argument for why the development needed to be stopped, Mr. Roberts said he had found maps showing that the property was Native American land dating to before the Pequot wars. The (at times) endearing story of an elderly, idealistic man against neighborhood change gets a boost from local residents, many of whom think the stable formerly operated by best-named urban cowboy Buster Marengo deserves to be preserved, or should perhaps be converted into a community park. Stagg intended to begin construction on the seven-story new development in February, but has yet to dig in. If Garland Roberts has his way with the property, it will give way to a therapeutic horseback-riding program for military veterans.
· A Squatter's Last Stand at a Condemned Bronx Barn [NYT]
· Controversial developer buys Bronx horse stable and promises 'beautiful' apartment building [NYDN]