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Dickenson has requested information about the City’s program of investigating open-space encroachment, asked for copies of all encroachment complaints, and asked to view the program’s budget and funding.

Since May, “The City has given us four different [deputy city] attorneys,” says Doering. “Each attorney left their position, and this has dragged on for ten months. It cost us a ton of money because we’ve had to compile documents for each city attorney. And they have given us very little information and haven’t responded to our legal issue.”

As the neighbors await the city attorney’s decision and as the deadline — extended to January 3 — approaches, their attorney’s fees continue to accrue. They have spent approximately $16,000. If they end up filing a lawsuit, Doering estimates that he and his neighbors will spend close to $100,000 in legal fees, as will the City.

“Fifty-two years of continuous occupancy by previous homeowners should be enough to see that this situation is different,” says Doering. “I’ve personally not had much sleep the past year thinking about losing the backyard we’ve come to enjoy these past 23 years.

“It’s just stupid because the spit of land has no access from the street and it has very little access from the canyon. The land was never true canyonland. It used to be a hilltop.”

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