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Southampton laws target historic buildings

Built in 1910, the two-story wood frame house

Built in 1910, the two-story wood frame house is one of the most intact historic summer homes in the incorporated village of Westhampton Beach. It has been owned by the Crowther family since the 1940s. (1985) Photo Credit: A. O’Brien, New York State Division for Historic Preservation

The Southampton Town board has passed two resolutions designed to give officials time to review plans to demolish or significantly change historic buildings.

The changes require any demolition or major alteration of a structure 75 years or older to first undergo a review process with the town’s landmarks and historic district board.

Public hearings on the issue were held Dec. 13 and Thursday. Councilwomen Nancy Graboski and Bridget Fleming and town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst voted “yes” on the resolutions, with Councilman James Malone abstaining.

Councilman Christopher Nuzzi was absent.

One of the new laws defines terms such as demolition and alteration. The second specifies the process when a renovation is considered demolition under the town’s codes.

Once an application is received, the landmarks board has 45 days to produce a report and recommendation based on the age and historical significance of the structure.

Southampton, which was settled in the 1600s, includes a variety of historic structures. Many of the homes have undergone major renovations without the owners knowing the buildings’ historic significance, according to testimony by members of the landmarks board.

Speakers at the public hearing were mostly in favor of the resolutions, although some homeowners felt the new definitions were too broad, and questioned whether a home that is 75 years old should be considered historic.

Above: Westhampton Beach's Crowther House is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

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