From the Daily News:
For almost 40 years, Peter and Ronnie Brancazio lived a quiet life on a picturesque block in Flushing, keeping mostly to themselves.
But when the owner of a single-family home across the street tried to build an eight-unit apartment building on the site three years ago, they mobilized other homeowners, contacted local officials and started protesting.
They realized that wasn't enough, and formed a new civic association. They even gathered donations and hired a lawyer.
Along with an army of volunteers, they dropped hundreds of flyers in mailboxes in an area bounded by Utopia Parkway, 165th St., 32nd Ave. and 25th Ave.
Last Wednesday night, the Northeast Flushing Civic Association met for the first time, at Holy Cross High School.
About 80 people turned out to find out about the new group and its ongoing battle against owner/developer Paul Rifino.
Rifino started to build a foundation around the existing home before the city Buildings Department issued a stop-work order and revoked his permit last year.
The city recently approved a zoning overhaul of the area, making it illegal to build a multifamily building at the site.
Rifino, who declined to comment, has previously argued his project should be permitted to go forward because the zoning allowed it at the time he started. He has two appeals before the city Board of Standards and Appeals, which grants zoning variances.