Following a large turnout of residents at Tuesday evening's Village Board meeting concerned about the possible forthcoming destruction of a 220-year old Babylon Village home, Mayor Ralph Scordino announced the village will look into formally forming a Historical Preservation Board that would oversee the future of homes that are 100 years old and older.
"I am going to present to the board in discussion the idea of forming a task force, or an advisory board, for preservation," said Scordino to the roughly 60 people in attendance. "I remember many of these homes as I grew up here, it would be a shame to have them taken down."
Scordino also added he was speaking with the village attorney and inspector about qualifications for the village's homes more than 100 years old as well as the possibility of a moratorium, or legally authorized stoppage, on any revisions to current properties that fit that mold.
"I will be talking to counsel and reaching out to owner to have a discussion," he said. "Hopefully, we can prevent its demolition."
The announcement came following multiple public comments from concerned citizens worried about the future of a home at 527 Deer Park Avenue. The home, estimated to have been built-in 1790, is in the middle a recently purchased property set to be split three ways and have three new Victorian-style homes built as part of the "Indian Crossing Babylon" project.
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"We want to explore alternatives through moratorium," said resident Stanis Beck, who lives across from the home in question and gathered many of the attendees. "We've heard the rumors the home might have been a post-Revolutionary [War] infirmary or part of the Underground Railroad. It would be a travesty to find out later after it was gone."
Beck also did her research on the home, finding out more history than previously known before including it being picked up, moved back 50 feet and turned from facing south to the west in 1890 – nearly 100 years after it was originally constructed. Beck also found evidence that points to its original builder and occupant being David Smith, a Babylon resident that fought for seven years in the Revolutionary War under then-General George Washington.
"We believe this information calls for a moratorium on all actions at the property," she said, noting it might qualify as a New York State historic landmark.
Beck also received the full support of the Babylon Village Historical and Preservation Society President Jackie Marsden.
Legislator Wayne Horsley (D–Lindenhurst), a Babylon resident, put his full support behind the creation of a historic structures board at the meeting.
"Others have done this and it's a good idea," Horsley said to the board. "I think it should be added to our code." He also noted how many changes have been made to the village over the last 30 years to bring it back, calling it the "Babylon Miracle." He also offered help from his office in any way possible.
"Babylon could be a leader in historic preservation," he said, noting the number of homes about to turn 100 years old will increase in a short period of time. "Protecting these homes is absolutely key."
The owners of the property and representatives for the Indian Crossing Babylon project did not appear to be at the public meeting.