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Neighbors sue to stop house construction

Neighbors on either side of a large house being built on exclusive lakefront property in Hamburg are suing the owners and want the partially completed structure torn down or payment of $1 million in damages.

The town and its Zoning Board of Appeals are also named in the suit, alleging that the board exceeded its authority in granting variances allowing the construction.

The suit pits Dr. Thomas and Elizabeth Polisoto of 2318 Beachwood Drive and Daniel and Susan Gallagher of 2308 Beachwood against Dr. Michael and Zulah LaMastra of Williamsville, who are building a house at 2312 Beachwood to replace a cottage.

The new house is nearly 5,000 square feet with a 3 1/2 -car garage and is 92 feet long and at least two-thirds larger than any other dwelling in the neighborhood, according to the suit.

The ZBA approved variances reducing the normal 35-foot front yard requirement to 6.1 feet and the 10-foot side yard requirement to 5 feet on June 6. The variances are of such a magnitude as to constitute a modification of the zoning code itself and are beyond the authority of the board, according to the suit.

The structure also violates its building permit because the foundation is even closer than the 6.1 feet (by a fraction of an inch) to the front property line and the height is 2 to 3 feet above the 35-foot maximum, it says.

Therefore, it must be removed, the suit says.

It also claims that the construction creates an undesirable change in the character of the neighborhood and diminishes the value of the neighbors' property, and they are entitled to $1 million in compensation.

Members of the Polisoto and Gallagher families complained to the Town Board on Jan. 9 and got into a heated argument with Zulah LaMastra in the hallway afterwards.

Town Attorney Vincent J. Sorrentino said at the time that the appeals board operates independently of the Town Board and the deadline for taking the matter to court had passed.

Sorrentino declined to comment on the suit.

Neither the LaMastras nor their attorney, Adam B. Conners, returned calls seeking comment.

Attorneys Craig A. Slater and Stasia Zoladz Vogel filed the suit on behalf of the neighbors.

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com

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