Tuckahoe Commission rejects Ward House application, developer to appeal

The board determined the owner of the revolutionary-era Ward House did not do enough to prove that not being able to develop the property has caused an economic hardship.

Jonathan Gordon

Feb 29, 2024, 1:27 AM

Updated 85 days ago

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The Tuckahoe Historic Preservation Commission rejected an application for the second time for a developer to begin work on a historic home in the village.
"Obviously disappointed in the result but understand what they were thinking. I'll have to take a look at the resolution, they read into the record, but I'll have to take a look at it and see what we think of it," attorney for the developer Lee Lefkowitz said.
At its meeting Wednesday night, the board determined the owner of the revolutionary-era Ward House did not do enough to prove that not being able to develop the property has caused an economic hardship.
"Inadequate information was presented to the Tuckahoe Historic Preservation Commission to substantiate claims that the structure at 230 White Plains Road in Tuckahoe, New York, a.k.a. the Ward House, qualifies for relief on the grounds of economic hardship," Tuckahoe Historic Preservation Commission Board Member Peggy Belles said.
The board held public hearings on the issue last October and last month.
Last summer, the developer appealed to the board that not redeveloping the property posed an imminent health and safety risk to the public, but the board rejected those claims.
That denial allowed the developer to go back before the board claiming his inability to do work on the property has caused financial loss.
Preserving the home has strong community support backed by the nonprofit group Friends of the Ward House, which has been advocating for the developer to reserve plans to demolish the 1700s home located at 230 White Plains Rd.
"The board made a very courageous decision. It's never easy to vote against a developer but the facts are the facts," Friends of the Ward House President Sal Provenzano said.
This issue dates back to 2021 when the developer bought the property from the former Concordia College when the school was shutting down. The village marked the Ward House as a historic landmark within a year of that purchase which set up this battle over the property.
There is still a separate and ongoing lawsuit brought by the developer against the village and Friends of the Ward House asking a judge to overturn the historical designation.
While this chapter is over, the fight over the future of the home is just beginning.
Lefkowitz said they will appeal on both applications to the full village board and the mayor.


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