A public feud between the city and an Albuquerque man over his unfinished home has sparked new frustration with some neighbors over what’s written on a new sign in the home’s front yard.
The sign posted at a home on the corner of Topke Place contains a four-letter expletive word. While it’s been reported to the city, the city says it’s unable to do anything about it.
Many neighbors are familiar with the home where the sign is attached. Near San Pedro and Montgomery, the home is surrounded by hand-painted protest signs and remains under construction with seemingly no end in sight.
The home has been at the center of a battle between the city and its owner Johnny Robinson since 2011. After the city initially approved Robinson’s building plans, planners forced Robinson to stop construction because the additions he made were too close to the property line.
“Right before I put the shingles on, they (the city) came and red tagged me and told me to stop work,” said Robinson in a 2014 interview with KRQE News 13.
The situation sparked a civil lawsuit that the city settled with Robinson in 2017. As part of the settlement, a plan was created with the goal of getting the home back on track to be finished.
However, the home remains unfinished today. The city says it has since abandoned the settlement.
Neighbors recently noticed a new sign went up on the second floor of the home, reading in part “new mayor, same old s***.”
“I think it’s a good example of the first amendment,” neighbor Lionel told KRQE News 13 Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a lot of frustration.”
The new sign garnered a complaint through Albuquerque’s 311 services Monday. However, the city’s Planning Department says it cannot do anything about the sign because it’s protected free speech on private property.
Some neighbors who spoke to KRQE News 13 Monday said they disagreed with the language on the sign, but “don’t want to get involved.”
Some neighbors say they just want to see the home finished.
“Finish it, let’s go be done with it, move on,” said a neighbor name Greg.
KRQE News 13 tried to ask the city of Albuquerque’s legal department where things stand with this case, but the city’s legal department didn’t get back to us.
The city recently told KRQE News 13 that it was open to working with Robinson to clear permits so that the house could be finished.