Small house under construction on a small plot not welcome on the Hauppauge block
A small house being built on too small a plot in Hauppauge is making life miserable, neighbors said.
Former landowner William Mallon obtained waivers from the Smithtown Zoning Appeal Board in 2018 which paved the way for the construction of the 1,310 square foot two-story home on a 0. 14 acre of South Plaisted Avenue, the smallest and narrowest on its block. . Most homes in the neighborhood, which was developed in the 1960s and 1970s, are around 2,100 square feet. Mallon’s deviations were to build on land about 35% smaller than zoning calls and to reduce frontage by 75 to 50 feet, according to planning department staffers.
“They can open their front door and practically walk out into my driveway,” said Gail Castoro, 67, a retired marketing underwriter who lives next door. After construction began, her mantel started to lean, she said. “I pray that my foundation holds and my cesspool holds.”
Mallon was sold for $180,000 on April 15 to Bohemia-based Property Relief Partners LLC, according to Suffolk County records, but neighbors said problems began with construction earlier in the year: mounds of earth blowing in the wind, noise and heavy equipment shaking neighboring houses. .
City inspectors issued a stop work order on March 23 when they found the height of the new home’s foundation exceeded the approved elevation, according to city building department records. Neighbors said workers spent a week grinding about a foot from the top of the newly laid foundation, making noise and a cloud of dust. The stop work order was lifted on April 26.
Inspectors found a temporary construction fence in poor condition during a May 16 visit. That case was resolved within days, records show, but Carl Castoro, 68, a retired ironworker, remained skeptical about the quality of the work. “Who are they going to find to do the electricity? Laurel and Hardy?” He said no fence was in place on Tuesday.
Lauren Kubernat, a retired customer service manager who lives across the street, said she and others believed the land – vacant for so long that neighbors rallied for it maintain – was legally unbuildable. “I’m just very disappointed in the city that would approve of such a small house in such a beautiful, middle-class neighborhood,” she said. Neighbors also said they were disturbed by an interlude at the 2018 appeal board meeting which was conducted in confidence.
The city typically receives about 210 requests per year for residential and commercial spreads. Zoning Appeals Board member Tony Tanzi, speaking generally about his board’s work, said members sometimes travel confidentially to discuss litigation matters, but conduct most of their work in public.
With little buildable land open in Smithtown, the council often hears requests from homeowners looking to build outside the city’s zoning constraints, he said. “We’re trying to give someone the relief they need to achieve their goals and have the least impact on neighbors,” he said.
Vincent Trimarco, a land-use attorney who represented Mallon before the city last year, said in an interview that his former client “made a request and the council approved it. It’s not like he did something he shouldn’t have done.”
Property Relief Partners owner Anthony Loffredo declined to comment.
Trimarco said Loffredo, whom he represented in separate cases, was “a good builder… The sooner he finishes, the sooner they won’t have noise and they’ll have a neighbor to get along with.”