A building at 33 Mill St. in Amityville, which village...

A building at 33 Mill St. in Amityville, which village historian Joe Guidice said is historically significant. The structure could potentially be added to a list of historic properties eligible for a tax break. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Amityville is trying to preserve its history, one house at a time.

The village is establishing a historical preservation commission tasked with determining which properties could be considered historic landmarks. The village will then give a tax break for renovations to those properties.

The move, part of a yearslong effort to preserve its most historically significant structures, comes at a time when the village is facing substantial development. Awarded $10 million in state downtown revitalization money in 2022, Amityville is in the midst of a main street makeover while awaiting the opening of a 317-unit apartment complex on the former site of Brunswick Hospital.

“We’re having a lot of construction right now,” said Joe Guidice, village historian and president of the Amityville Historical Society. “Time is of the essence to save these properties.”

The village will announce the members of the preservation commission on April 8, said Mayor Dennis Siry. Members will be appointed to one-year terms, and be charged with establishing the criteria for a “historical” designation and coming up with a list of potential sites, he said. Those property owners will then be approached and asked if they want the historic status.

The approach is a more tender one than originally pursued by the village, Siry said. Several years ago Amityville established a Certified Local Government, or CGL, committee and was moving toward obtaining that status. CGL is a federal program administered by the New York State Historic Preservation Office with strict requirements for historic properties that do not require approval of the owner. According to the state’s webpage, as of June there are 11 municipalities on Long Island that have the status.

“We didn’t want to just come in and say, 'Hey, your house is historic and you can’t do this or that to it,' ” Siry said. “We wanted to respect the rights of the homeowner, but we also wanted to do what we could to prevent anything bad from happening.”

Owners who opt in to the historic status and make approved renovations to their home will not have to pay the increase in village taxes associated with the home’s rise in assessed value from the renovations for five years, according to village attorney Bruce Kennedy. After that, the taxes will increase by 20% per year for the next five years until homeowners pay the full amount, he said.

“The purpose is to encourage people who have historic properties to fix them up,” Kennedy said.

Guidice, 69, said the historical society has been cataloging historically significant properties and already has a list of at least two dozen.

He said he hopes the village holds meetings to inform residents about grants available to those rehabbing historic buildings and the benefits of having a historic home.

“I think the key is education and letting people know about not just the monetary benefits but the general reasons for this,” he said.

Harris Democratic nomination . . . LI medical school top honors . . . Elmont senior condo still empty Credit: Newsday

Updated now Two dead in MacArthur plane crash . . . Harris Democratic nomination . . . Canon job cuts . . . St. Rocco's preview

Harris Democratic nomination . . . LI medical school top honors . . . Elmont senior condo still empty Credit: Newsday

Updated now Two dead in MacArthur plane crash . . . Harris Democratic nomination . . . Canon job cuts . . . St. Rocco's preview

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.