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Ryde Council spends $50,000 to figure out who owns laneway after bitter neighbourhood dispute

Bitter McMansion families fight over who has rights to a laneway between their properties and cost ratepayers $50,000 in the process – only to find out the REAL owner lives 650km away

  • The Marcellinos complained to council after neighbours stored trash in laneway 
  • They were under impression that council owned land since they’ve lived there
  • Council paid a genealogist $50,000 to trace back the owner of the laneway
  • The Marcellinos are upset it was taken to court and will take years to resolv

A bitter feud between the owners of two McMansions over a laneway has cost ratepayers an eyewatering $50,000.     

For decades, homeowners David and Melanie Marcellino thought the dead-end lane next to their Ryde mansion in Sydney’s north-west was council property.

The couple were happy to share the space with their neighbours, but became fed-up when it turned into a dumping ground for cars, boats and rubbish, ACA reported.

Frustrated with the state of the lane, they filed a complaint with Ryde Council.   

They had no idea the complaint would end up sparking an investigation that would  lead to the owner of a sprawling rural property roughly 650 kilometres away.

Jurds Lane (pictured) is tucked between two McMansions in the Sydney suburb of Ryde

For the last 27 years, David and Melanie Marcellino were under the impression the laneway was council property

For the last 27 years, David and Melanie Marcellino were under the impression the laneway was council property

Ryde Council paid for a genealogist to trace the original owners of the land.

The exhaustive search found that the tiny slither of land wedged between the two McMansions was in fact privately owned, dating back to 1853. 

From there, the council was able to find the rightful owner of the lane, a man named David Starr who lives in Mulwala in the Riverina, north of the NSW-Victoria border.

Council minutes from a meeting in April 2017 revealed Mayor Bill Pickering’s intentions to settle the matter quietly.

‘Recent investigations by Council staff have revealed that the subject land is privately owned and that it may be a deceased estate,’ Mayor Pickering said.

‘(Marcellinos) are requesting that Council investigate the possibility of compulsorily acquiring the land or seeking that it be dedicated to Council as Public Road.’ 

A genealogist traced the true owners of the slither of land (centre) back to the Estate of William Star in the 1860s

A genealogist traced the true owners of the slither of land (centre) back to the Estate of William Star in the 1860s

In a cruel twist, the Marcellinos will need to wait another few years as the matter has been sent to the Supreme Court to be settled and could take years to be resolved. 

‘(The council) think they can treat people however they want and however they like and not take responsibility for things,’ Mrs Marcellino said.

‘We want an apology from the council and we want it to be over with.’

‘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,’ Mr Marcellino said. 

In a statement provided to ACA, Ryde Council said it was ‘unaware whether there has been a recent change in ownership.’  

‘This land has been owned by the Estate of William Star since the 1860s.’ 

‘Council considers that this is a private property issue between Mr and Mrs Marcellino and the owner of the land in question. 

The Marcellino's are upset that the debacle has been sent to the Supreme Court and will take years to be resolved

The Marcellino’s are upset that the debacle has been sent to the Supreme Court and will take years to be resolved

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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