Are Hamptons Historic Homes Doomed for Demolition?



Dating from 1880, this historic home on Ocean Road in Bridgehampton was recently torn down, despite a town board's plea to save it.The East End is chock-full of charming historic structures, but without enough vacant lots to satisfy developers and homebuyers, are any of them safe from the bulldozer? Bridgehampton’s 949 Ocean Road, which was built in 1880 by Baldwin Cook, a farmer and captain of the U.S. Life-Saving Service at Mecox Station, recently met its demise. The new developer-owner of the residence (sold along with 1.3 acres and last listed for $4.995 million) was issued a demolition permit in May and plans to replace the historic shingled farmhouse with a two-story farm-style home, a detached garage, and a pool house, according to Ed Wesnofske, a member of the Southampton Landmarks and Historic Districts Board, which reviews all building permit applications involving structures more than 75 years old. The board typically informs the owner about a property’s history, then provides the town’s building department with a recommendation about whether it should or shouldn’t be demolished, based on historic value and current condition. However, the building department isn’t obligated to follow the board’s suggestions and “usually issues permits because owners have the right to develop a site as they see fit,” says Wesnofske, who, along with the Landmarks and Historic Districts Board, recommended in April that 949 Ocean Road not be torn down. (The maximum penalty for demolishing a historic structure without a permit is $1,000—a drop in the bucket for anyone constructing a multimillion-dollar property.) “We are trying to alert an owner or builder to the loss of history as well as inform the community, but we are usually disappointed to find that our notes are a pitifully weak form of persuasion, compared to the potential monetary gain.”

Dating from 1880, this historic home on Ocean Road in Bridgehampton was recently torn down, despite a town board's plea to save it.In addition to the seven historic districts managed by the villages within the Town of Southampton, just 12 residences are designated as town landmarks and require a special “certificate of appropriateness” for any alterations or demolition. For most historic structures in the town, though, there is little hope, as there are no laws in place that supersede a building permit. The number of teardowns has increased during the past five years, Wesnofske adds: “As land becomes scarcer, demolition is the developer’s strategy of choice. Small community advisory groups in each hamlet have been discussing historic value issues, but there’s no organized action and not enough awareness. It normally takes a big crisis to galvanize feelings.”

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76 Windmill Lane, Bridgehampton
On 2+/- acres, landscaped for complete privacy, this complex consists of three interconnected enameled clad steel barns custom designed by Jack Ceglic, with radiant heat concrete floors, maintenance free exteriors and grand, open spaces. The 4,600+/- sq. ft. main house offers custom kitchen, master and guest suites, library and half bath. All rooms open to large mahogany terrace. The guest house/studio has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and separate study. Heated gunite lap pool.



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5 Green Pond Road, New Milford, CT
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64 Birchwood Lane, Bridgehampton
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Barn and Vine

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20 Hook Pond Lane, East Hampton
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57 Miller Lane East, East Hampton
Charming East Hampton cottage renovated in 2013 was transformed into a 2,500+/- sq. ft. dream home. On the first level are two bedrooms, a bath, open living areas, and a sunroom. The bluestone sun porch overlooks a beautiful pool and pool house with garden. Upstairs master suite features a bath with marble herringbone floor with nickel Samuel Heath shower fixtures. Custom window treatments, Phillip Jeffries wallpaper throughout and Sonos inside and outside.



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11 Musket Ridge Road, Wilton CT
Perched at the top of a roaring Silvermine River waterfall on almost 4 acres, the property spreads out into Wilton and New Canaan. Every inch of this home has been perfected to capture the timeless appeal of the river while exuding ultimate refinement and good taste. The architect-designed home captures river views and sounds, and almost every room opens to one of the magnificent decks or to a private balcony. Call Ileana Barns Slavin Associates-William Raveis at (203) 246-7215.

11 Musket Ridge Road

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