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Boro gives final approval to Mattone house on bay

Ten days later Queens Buildings Commissioner Magdi Mossad was transferred to Brooklyn as head of that borough's Buildings Department.Construction of the house at 37-19 Regatta Place in Douglaston had been dogged by stop-work orders and violations from the Buildings Department and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. In particular, neighbors and officials charged that the plans counted land that is actually under water to calculate the lot size, resulting in a house much larger than what could have been on the landward lot.In December state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) asked the Buildings Department to review the process by which the work was approved. On Jan. 4, Mossad wrote in a letter to Padavan that his office "is investigating the way of determining the upland lot area" and placed the property on "hold."Padavan spokesman Peter Potter said his office had not been informed that a certificate of occupancy had been granted by Mossad.Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who also wrote numerous letters to the Buildings Department on behalf of constituents concerned about the Mattone house, said there was little left to do if a certificate of occupancy had been issued."It's impossible to get them to budge at this point as far as I'm concerned," he said. "Whether or not we agree with their position, they made a determination and went ahead and issued the C of O."Granting the certificate of occupancy on Jan. 20 was one of Mossad's last actions as Queens borough commissioner for the DOB. As of Jan. 30, he was transferred after more than five years in Queens to head the Brooklyn office in a reshuffling that affected all the outer-borough offices.Derek Lee, the former deputy commissioner in Queens, is now acting as borough commissioner while the Buildings Department decides on a permanent replacement.While a DOB spokeswoman described Mossad's transfer as a lateral move, there are indications that heading the Brooklyn office may be a promotion of sorts. A second deputy commissioner has been added in Brooklyn, making it the only borough other than Manhattan with two deputies.Avella, a frequent and harsh critic of the city Buildings Department, said that for all his complaints that the Queens office was unresponsive, the Brooklyn DOB was worse."Magdi, [Mossad] you know, is trying to stay on top of things," he said. "They're taking some baby steps to improve the situation, I'll give them that. But at this point we need giant steps."Before leading the Queens office, Mossad was deputy borough commissioner in Brooklyn for three years.Reach reporter John Tozzi by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 188.

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