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Developer decides to demolish Babylon building after all

The South Side Signal building in Babylon on

The South Side Signal building in Babylon on Thursday. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

The historical South Side Signal building, circa 1869, was saved from a bulldozer once before, but now a developer plans to demolish the former Babylon newspaper office to pave a parking lot.

Developer Ken Rogers of Babylon-based Rogers Development Corp. last year demolished the historical Selah Smith Carll House, circa 1826, at 73 W. Main St. to make way for a new two-story building, with retail on the first floor and apartments on the second.

He initially planned to demolish the adjacent South Side Signal building as part of that project, but later filed plans with the village that excluded it. Village officials and residents in favor of preservation said Rogers agreed not to raze the building but to refurbish it for office space.

However, in an amended application with the village, the building will be demolished after all, Planning Board chairman James Slack said.

Rogers' initial plans for three apartments required seven parking spots, but he expanded that to four apartments, requiring 10 parking spots, Slack said. The site of the Signal building is where the parking will go.

Rogers did not respond to requests for comment.

North Babylon historic homeowner James Muller and others have tried to push village officials to create a historic preservation law. Muller delivered a 2,000-signature petition in November 2017, but Mayor Ralph Scordino said he opposes any law that would make it mandatory.

At least 36 potentially historic houses have been demolished since 1980, Babylon Town historian Mary Cascone said.

Jackie Marsden, acting village historian and president of the Babylon Village Historical Society, recently co-founded the Babylon Village Historic House Committee to try to preserve more buildings.

“This is going to be a big loss for the community,” Marsden said. “I guess income comes over preservation.”

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