House Construction Causes Conflict

Staff Writer

Construction on a couple of recently sold houses on a Queensboro Hill block has caused the new owners to butt heads with some longtime members of the community.

Don Capalbi, president of the Queensboro Hill Civic Association, Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Hillcrest), State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and community residents came together to ask City Planning to conduct a zoning review. The request came out of what they saw as out-of-context residential zoning disrupting the quality of life on 56th Road.

The conference took place near 146-21 56th Road, a home that was recently sold. It is undergoing massive renovations that appear to be moving up and out. This is the second building on the block to undergo a transformation recently. The first one, located two addresses down at 146-15 56th Road, stands at three stories, above any of its neighbors.

“There’s got to be some limitations on what happens to folks in their 80s who are living in their home and cut off from light and air,” Capalbi said.

The three elected officials said they support a study by the City Planning Commission, to see if changes should go into effect to prevent these larger houses from changing the character of the neighborhood.

Dan Powers, whose parents owned the house at 146-21 56th Road, said that they sold it because of the negative effect from the three-story structure two houses down.

“[My mom] didn’t want to live in a place where she felt she was being infringed upon. She was just really upset,” he said.

Powers added he was suspicious of the owner’s claim that the house was for her and her relatives, since it has three gas meters installed. Another resident on the block, Wendy Monterosso, said that these large houses harm the infrastructure and worsen parking.

The owner of 146-15 56th Road, Min Lin, argued that any change from City Planning could affect the ability of others to sell their houses. She added that the protestors were not unanimous on the block.

“If the City changes the zoning and this neighbor just bought it, that’s not fair. He would have a hard time trying to sell it,” she said. “We have 20 neighbors here. We can get a vote.”

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125,, or @JoeMarvilli.