From the Daily News:
Residents of a tree-lined block in Astoria were furious when the owner of a tidy Tudor home ripped it apart several years ago to build a brick behemoth.
Things got even worse when the construction stopped.
The half-built structure, which looms high above other homes on 35th St., is hidden behind wooden boards.
"We never had rats in this neighborhood until now," said Sabrina Parada, who lives around the corner from the partially-built three-family house. "We don't even know what's going on over there. There might be pools of standing water. We had more mosquitoes than usual this year."
Neighbors who live adjacent to the building complained of flooding and cracked walls. City inspectors have issued dozens of violations for expired permits, faulty fencing and other problems.
The hulking mass of unfinished brick and concrete at 20-13 35th St. is so unsightly, it became a poster child for zoning reform.
"This is the building I showed everyone when I lobbied for changing the outdated zoning in Astoria," said City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.
Vallone and others were successful, and the city updated zoning rules to prevent future out-of-context construction in the area.
But that change won't impact the project because it had already been approved.
The previous owner, Michele Rappa, amassed 16 violations starting in April 2009, officials said.
New owner Anthony Mileo bought the building, which was in foreclosure, over the summer. He said he wants to finish the project.