History lovers and developer at odds over tearing down Tuckahoe home built in the 1700s

A public hearing was held as the village moved one step closer to deciding whether a developer can demolish a historic home known as the Ward House.

News 12 Staff

May 25, 2023, 9:54 AM

Updated 366 days ago

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A home that dates to the 1700s was the focus of intense debate in Tuckahoe Wednesday night.
A public hearing was held as the village moved one step closer to deciding whether a developer can demolish a historic home known as the Ward House.
The not-for-profit group The Friends of the Ward House say the British used the house as a headquarters for a few days then burned it back in 1778, just before the battle of White Plains. The home was rebuilt in the 1790s.
Both sides presented their arguments to the board at the Historic Preservation Commission meeting about why they felt it should or should not be demolished.
Attorneys for the developer argue the home is beyond repair because of major structural issues to load-bearing walls and the foundation.
"Our evidence is unrefuted as to the structure, the engineering, and instability of the structure," says developer attorney Lee Lefkowitz.
Lefkowitz says the developer want to help preserve the history of the house by replacing it with a structure that honors the old architecture and putting up a plaque that commemorates what took place at the site.
But community members who want the house preserved, claim the home is not in as bad of a shape as the developer claims.
"Not only is this house not in imminent danger of falling down, but it's also historically significant," says Sal Provenzano, president of the group Friends of the Ward House.
The board must ultimately decide whether the home presents a clear and imminent threat to the public by letting it stand.
This is a battle that has been consuming the small village since the developer bought the home in 2021 after Concordia College, which owned the home, shut its doors.
The attorneys for the developer have three weeks to submit a written response to Wednesday night's public comment meeting.
The board could set a meeting date to vote as early as next month. The developer will have the opportunity to re-apply if the board votes its application down the first time.


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