By Howard Koplowitz
City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) has joined civic leaders in opposing a variance sought by a developer to create a two-family home in Bayside Hills that they say would change the character of the neighborhood.
Rock Chapel Realty bought the corner lot at 50-20 216th St. two years ago with the objective of building a two-family house on the property, which included plans to divide the lot.
The developer needs a variance because the lot is not in compliance with the total area requirement needed to build a second house on the lot. A one-family home exists on the lot now and Rock Chapel wants to add a second structure on the lot.
“That’s a fundamental change,” Halloran said in a phone interview Monday, referring to the plans to build a two-family home in a neighborhood that largely consists of single-family houses. “It’s not the sort of layout that we would want in Bayside Hills.”
The councilman said it was “inappropriate” for the architect of the plans, Paul Bonfilio, to buy the lot and subdivide it knowing he would need a variance in order to build on the lot.
“This guy created the hardship,” Halloran said. “He created the lot.”
Michael Feiner, president of the Bayside Hills Civic Association, also said he was opposed to the variance request.
“It’s against the characteristics of the neighborhood and it should be opposed,” Feiner said. “It’s something that doesn’t belong in the neighborhood. [Developers are] taking advantage of us.”
Feiner said some aspects of the plans, including a stairway leading to a cellar and different-size windows, are out of sync with other homes in the area.
The variance request is on the agenda for Community Board 11’s meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at MS 158 at 46-35 Oceania St. in Bayside.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.