Bedell House designated over owner’s objection

Landmarks designated nineteenth century home to prevent further destruction. On April 12, 2005, Landmarks held a public hearing and acted immediately to designate the James L. Bedell House, an 1874 single- family home located at 7484 Amboy Road in Tottenville and considered one of the best preserved Second Empire style houses on Staten Island’s South Shore. Landmarks scheduled a public hearing to consider the house for designation after the owner, John Grossi, Jr., spray painted the house bright orange and green. See 2 CityLand 44 (April 15, 2005).

At the April 12, 2005 public hearing, Tottenville residents, including the director of the Tottenville’s Historical Society, testified in favor of designation and requested that Landmarks act to protect Tottenville’s legacy. Representatives from Congressman Vito Fosella’s and Council Member Anthony Lanza’s offices also supported designation. Grossi, the only speaker who opposed, admitted that it had been a mistake to spray paint the house. He testified that he never intended to live there, claiming the house was uninhabitable, and he purchased it only for investment purposes. Grossi planned to demolish the house and develop garden apartments and law offices. He added that he would not have purchased the house if he had prior notice that Landmarks was considering it for designation.

Landmarks closed the public hearing and immediately opened a public meeting to determine whether the house was worthy of designation. Chair Robert Tierney noted that in spite of any potential financial hardship Grossi might sustain as a result of designation, Landmarks had the power to designate the same day as the public hearing in order to protect a building worthy of landmark status.

Landmarks unanimously approved the designation, finding the special character and aesthetic value of the Bedell house worthy of designation. Landmarks noted that its primary responsibility was to protect the historical and cultural significance of buildings throughout the city and the Bedell house clearly warranted its protection.

LPC: James L. Bedell House, 7484 Amboy Road (LP-2180) (April 12, 2005).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.