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Half-built house irks Robinwood neighbors

The massive two-story house at 163-05 Cross Island Parkway lies empty and boarded up, a chicken-wire fence sequestering the small patch of lawn behind a large brick arch. It has been slapped with numerous stop-work orders and violations over the past nine years.Most recently, the city Department of Buildings Web site shows a stop-work order has been in place since 2004 for illegal construction. It carries two outstanding violations for failure to maintain the property.City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said the current state of the home is representative of the failure of the DOB to keep builders in line."At some point, the city should be able to say 'Either finish this home, tear it down, or we're taking the property,'" Avella said.Area residents also said they were fed up with the home."You don't wake up one morning and find a slum, but if you don't fix things like this, people start moving out, people don't want to live here anymore," said Pat Carpentiere, a member of the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Association."Builders have gotten in under the wire with these mansions," said resident Marion Silverstein, who also worried about a row of large private homes under construction on Cryders Lane. "But now they're out of money and these houses are just sitting there."Just what property owner Alan Chin intends to do with the home is unclear. Silverstein, who helped organize neighbors, said she had not had any contact with Chin."But he knows the attitude of the community, I'm sure," she said.Avella said he occasionally reports the property to the Department of Health for the vegetation in the front yard. Although Chin has made no progress toward finishing the home, Avella said he always pays the Health Department fines and cuts down the weeds in the front yard.But Avella has not spoken to Chin."It's always been my practice not to talk to property owners," the councilman said. "They give you the runaround. I don't want to hear anything from him. I want it done."No one answered phone calls at the number listed for Chin on various DOB documents.Avella said he would send letters to the mayor and the buildings commissioner requesting that the building be torn down.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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