Some Freeport residents upset over tall house

Marion Long, of Freeport, is leading a fight Marion Long, of Freeport, is leading a fight against the construction of a 3 1/2 story house being built across from her home on West Fourth Street. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Residents on West Fourth Street are upset with Freeport Village officials for allowing a 3½-story house to tower over their block.

"It's a monstrosity," said Marion Long, a retired physician who, with her husband, Joseph, lives across the road from the house. "What I don't understand is how this zoning board, under the new administration, allowed this when the board under the previous mayor rejected the building at the same site -- twice."

The owner, Paul Gianferrara, could not be reached for comment.

The house was rejected by the Freeport Building Department, then, on appeal, by the Zoning Board, both in 2012, records show.

"Initially, the house plans did not conform to the code," said Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy. "The owner then modified the plans in conformance with . . . the codes . . . and the [village] Planning Board approved the plans" in June 2013.

He added that Freeport added 2 feet to the permitted height after superstorm Sandy.

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Long and another resident on the block, John Remsen, complained that no other house on the tree-lined street was set on a 50-foot frontage.

"Those pushing for this house said there are other houses with a 50-foot frontage, but I haven't seen them," said Remsen, a former village zoning board member.

Kennedy, though, said that was immaterial because "a 50-foot frontage is legal."

Long said one neighbor put his house up for sale as soon at the village OKd building the new house.

"People here have gone through so much with the storms and all," she said. "We feel so helpless when we plead with officials not to build something like this and they don't seem to even want to listen."

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