A tower of trouble as Calverton couple gets called to court

03/15/2013 6:00 AM |
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The widow's walk-type structure atop a Calverton home is teh start of a grand plan to match an 8,500-square-foot South Fork mansion.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | This widow’s walk-type structure atop a Calverton home is the start of a grand plan to match an 8,500-square-foot South Fork mansion.

A Calverton couple is facing legal action for building a tower atop the center of their Founders Path house without proper building permits, Riverhead Town officials said.

COURTESY PHOTO | The Calverton home is being modeled after this Remsenburg property currently on the market for $11.5 million.

COURTESY PHOTO | The Calverton home is being modeled after this Remsenburg estate on the market for $11.5 million.

Town attorney Robert Kozakiewicz called the tower a widow’s walk, for lack of a better term.

“We really don’t know what it is,” he admitted.

Mr. Kozakiewicz said the homeowners, Eugene and Doreen Lafurno, had submitted plans for a construction project, but said the tower that grew out of the house didn’t match the plans submitted to the town. Building permits for the project have expired, he said.

The tower, combined with the rest of the structure, may exceed the town’s 35-foot height limit for residential structures, Mr. Kozakiewicz said.

“We’ve asked for clarification on that issue and we have not received it yet,” he said.

The town decided to take legal action in Supreme Court after efforts to address the tower in Town Justice Court failed, Mr. Kozakiewicz said.

Four active arrest warrants for the couple have been issued through the town police department related to building violations, court officials said.

The first pair of warrants was for improperly building a deck around the house in October 2009. A second set of arrest warrants was issued last October for building onto the house without a permit, court officials said.

Reached last week at his property, Mr. Lafurno said he has the proper permits to build the tower, which he plans to feature as the centerpiece of a bolder vision for the house.

The tower is currently half finished, with exposed wooden planks draped in tarps that flap in the wind. A weather vane juts out from the top of the tower’s roof. A staircase leads to the top of the tower, Mr. Lafurno said; he said the path wasn’t clear and would not allow a reporter inside the structure.

Mr. Lafurno, who has lived in the house for 20 years, said he plans to build out the home to match a 8,500-square-foot, five-bedroom mansion he saw in Remsenburg years ago. That 2.7-acre bayfront property is currently on the market, listed with Marcia Altman of Brown Harris Stevens for $11.5 million.

Mr. Lafurno said his plans include adding layers of extensions from the tower, using the tower as the support for the rest of the house. Future planned additions include a deck around the outside of the home and a six-car garage, which he wants to build under the house.

“We had the best engineers,” he said. “I had the whole thing approved by the town.”

The house, which Mr. Lafurno has dubbed “The Epiphany,” is his “free enterprise dream,” he said, adding that he plans to sell the home — which he believes will be worth the same $11.5 million as its Remsenburg inspiration — for a massive profit.

He sharply criticized his neighbors and the town, alleging that they are in cahoots to limit his expressive freedoms.

“It’s a really beautiful house and these idiots are trying to stop it,” he said.

Mr. Lafurno said he has had encounters with town police in the past and accused them of “abducting” him for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

Mr. Kozakiewicz said he expects the town will take legal action against the homeowners within a month.

psquire@timesreview.com

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