Mystery mansion developer speaks out


The developer behind a West 246th Street house that was recently subjected to the ire of Community Board 8 land use chair Charles Moerdler, is speaking out about claims work on the house were not above board.

Kevin Maher, president of Watermark Contractors, told The Riverdale Press on Monday that the plans to build the $4 million home were approved by the City Planning Commission and the city’s buildings department.

That included both the size and height of the house.

After the plans were approved, however, a neighbor filed a lawsuit forcing the home’s entrance to be shifted from Blackstone Place to West 246th.

“The only reason for the stop work order is due to some rock outcroppings and a couple of trees,” Maher said. “There was an abandoned falling wall on 246th Street that was in danger of crumbling at any time. We have approved DOB plans to remove it.”

Moerdler and some of the home’s neighbors claim this development violates Special Natural Area District regulations designed to protect Riverdale’s greenway.

A DOB spokesman told The Press last week that while the owner of 625 W. 246th St., obtained permits two years ago to convert an existing single-story house into a two-story home with a cellar and attic, DOB inspectors later cited the property for “multiple instances where the contractors had significantly deviated from” those plans.

That included enlarging the driveway and walkway, building additional steps up to the property, removing a retaining wall, relocating two other retaining walls, replacing a rock outcropping with new paving and grass, and other landscaping work.

“This all demonstrates that developers will take advantages that other developers have found,” Moerdler told The Press last week. “That’s including this one that takes advantage of the fact that (lack of enforcement) has been the attitude of the CPC.”

Maher, however, wasn’t a fan of how long it takes to cut the red tape slowing down development in the SNAD.

“The approvals for the house took two years between the CPC, Community Board 8 and the DOB,” Maher said this week.

“How would any homeowner or builder possibly renovate a house when the process takes so long, and (is so) drawn out.”

Community Board 8, CB8, Charles Moerdler, Kevin Maher, Watermark Contractors, City Planning Commission, Michael Hinman, SNAD, Special Natural Area District,