Reconstruction of the Maine Maid Inn in Jericho can officially resume after a legal settlement approved Tuesday to preserve some of the landmarked building's historic features.
The Oyster Bay Town Board approved settling the suit that the East Norwich Civic Association brought against the town, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and companies controlled by owner Anthony Scotto, president of the Scotto Brothers, a Woodbury-based catering and restaurant company.
Matthew Meng, president of the civic association, said the agreement requires the involvement of the landmarks commission and for the Scotto organization to use historic materials to rebuild four chimneys that were dismantled.More storiesThe history of Long Island through Newsday's archivesMapLI's historic sitesMore coverageLong Island's most famous crimes
"Lots of damage was done to the Maine Maid Inn," Meng told the board. "I think we're all going to be back on track. I just ask everyone to make sure and keep a watchful eye that the process is followed."
Anthony Scotto said in an interview that the legal fight had wasted a few weeks but that the parties had the same goals. "We agreed that we are going to make every human effort possible to reproduce as much as we can for their benefit as well as ours," Scotto said. "We want the piece of history to be there and be part of our restaurant."
State Supreme Court Judge Arthur M. Diamond in Mineola halted construction at a hearing in June. Some work resumed at the site late last month after the agreement was reached between Scotto and the civic association, but before the town board approved.
The partial demolition of the antebellum house -- which served the Underground Railroad -- without a review by the landmarks commission outraged preservationists who discovered the work in April.
Scotto said the responsibility for landmark commission approval lay with the town. "I was never told by the town that I needed to do that," he said. "I went to the town for permits. They issued me permits, and they told me what I needed to do to preserve parts of this building, and we did."
Town Supervisor John Venditto said before the vote that he was "very comfortable" with the pact. "It's the right thing to do," he said. He declined to answer questions after the meeting.