NewsProblem Solvers


City of Henryetta working to help man with overgrown property next to his house

Posted at 5:10 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 19:45:45-04

HENRYETTA, Okla. -- A Henryetta man is frantic at the thought of losing his home lived in by three generations of his family.

He said the overgrown lot next door is causing many unwanted critters, while also posing a safety risk. When he couldn't get answers, he called 2 Works for You Problem Solvers.

"I didn't know what else to do,” Pete Niewinsky, the homeowner said.

Niewinsky said he’s had trouble for the past two years.

"This is all I got, it ain't much but I don't want to lose it,” he said of his home.

The lot next door has gone neglected. The owner passed away years ago and the City has had no response when they send citations to next of kin.

Grasses and vines climb boundary fences, invading on Niewinsky’s immaculate property.

"It's got so big there's snakes that come in the yard, rats, mice, a rat got in the yard and got under the hood of my car and ate all the wires up,” he said.

He also adds that the issue of critters doesn't compare to that of safety.

“I'm afraid of fires,” Niewinsky said. “I hear about all these fires around Tulsa and the little towns around Tulsa, and I'm afraid if it catches on fire, it'll burn both my houses up and I won't have nothing."

The home is a piece of Niewinsky family history.

"My grandpa and grandma lived here and I was born in here,” he said. “I lived here since I was about three years old. My mom and dad lived here until they all passed away."

Niewinsky said it's the importance of his home that's pushed him to ask the City to clear the pasture by his home.

"Every time I go to town to get groceries or something, I drive by there and see if anybody is there you know?"

He said at one point he understood something could be done.

"[The code enforcer] keeps saying he's going to have somebody cut that pasture and he's going to put poison on it so it won't come back,” Niewinsky said.

But after two years, he said that never happened, so 2 Works for You Problem Solvers went to City Hall.

We spoke to the code enforcer and public works director, who said they weren't aware of the situation, but aim to put public safety first.

The next day, City officials, along with the Mayor, went to the property to survey what could be done. The Mayor said there is some legal work to be done to determine whose property it belongs to,  but said she is willing to do what it takes to ease Mr. Niewinsky’s frustration.

If you find yourself in a position that could involve the City, try going to a City Council meeting and requesting to speak about your problem in an open forum.

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