Council re-designates home in second attempt

The Council voted to re-designate after court voided first designation. The City Council voted on July 25, 2007 to amend the Douglaston Hill Historic District to include a home at 41-45 240th Street that has been the subject of a protracted designation dispute. 4 CityLand 3 (Apr. 15, 2007). Landmarks originally designated the home as part of the Douglaston Hill Historic District in December 2004. The owners, Kevin and Diana Mosley, successfully challenged the home’s designation in court, aided by evidence that the house was constructed in the 1920s and not the 1870s as claimed by Landmarks. Landmarks calendared the home for re-inclusion in January 2007 based on the 1920s construction date, putting a stop to the home’s renovations, which were 75 percent complete at the time.

The Council’s Land Use Committee voted to amend the historic district to re-include the house by a vote of eighteen to three with Council Members Charles Barron, Leroy G. Comrie Jr. and Vincent Ignizio voting against re-inclusion. Barron felt that the homeowners had made a reasonable compromise in trying to appease the preservationists by designing renovations to the house in such a way as to maintain the historic and architectural style of the street. Comrie argued that in this case the homeowner’s rights should be protected over preservation goals. Despite voting in favor of reinclusion, Council Member Miguel Martinez noted his general concerns for the rights of homeowners. Martinez then explained his vote by stating that in this case the designation was based on an ongoing, thorough process, and there was no overnight seizing of the homeowner’s rights.

The full Council followed the recommendation of the Land Use Committee and voted to approve.

Council: 41-45 240th Street, Douglaston Hill Historic District, Queens (July 25, 2007).

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