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Babylon Village turns down developer’s bid to demolish historic house

A developer who wants to demolish a Revolutionary

A developer who wants to demolish a Revolutionary War-era farmhouse at 527 Deer Park Ave. in Babylon Village has been denied a permit by the village building department, according to his attorney. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

A Babylon Village developer who wants to demolish a Revolutionary War-era farmhouse at 527 Deer Park Ave. to make way for new houses has been denied a permit by the village building department, according to his attorney.

Chase Ognibene will need the Zoning Board of Appeals to amend a prior building permit approval requiring that the house be maintained, according to Darrell Conway, a West Babylon attorney specializing in land use applications.

Ognibene and his father, Steve Ognibene, still intend to build two new houses at the Indian Crossing subdivision at Deer Park and Ketewamoke avenues, Conway said, but the permit denial prolongs and complicates a fight that could eventually end up in New York State Supreme Court.

“Under village law, we must appeal his decision to the ZBA,” Conway said of the denial by the building department. But that board typically goes into recess over part of the summer.

“It’s going to take months,” Conway added. He and his client will discuss strategy in coming days, he said.

Village resident Jerry Miskovsky, who said he is a professional code consultant who opposes the Ognibenes’ development plans, said the denial was not a victory but a step toward what could be one of the most heavily attended ZBA public hearings in the village in years.

“We are preparing for that, and 200 to 300 people have indicated they will show up,” he said.

He and allies will prove that “this requirement to save the house was done legally and to rescind it at this point would be unjust,” he said.

He and preservation advocates including members of a civic group, the Babylon Village Heritage Conservancy, have argued that the Ognibenes have ignored village rules and an agreement under which the group would help find a buyer for the house, which was built around 1790 and is one of the oldest in the village.

Conway, who formerly represented Babylon Town’s planning and zoning boards, said his client has contended with conflicting orders from the village and that acceding to the preservationists’ demands would mean trampling on his client’s property rights.

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