Southampton Forum Will Discuss Preservation Options for Historic Houses

Don't let this happen to your house!
Preservationists don’t want to let this happen to your house!

The Peconic Land Trust, Rogers Memorial Library and the Southampton Historical Museum are holding a special forum this Thursday, March 19, on options for preservation of historic homes, in light of the ongoing destruction of older houses, particularly on the South Fork, to make way for modern homes.

The forum, titled “Save Your House: Historic Preservation Options,” is part of Southampton Town’s 375th Anniversary celebration. It will be held at the Rogers Mansion, 17 Meeting House Lane in Southampton Village from 3 to 5 p.m. It is free to the public, but RSVPs are requested at 631.283.2494.

Peconic Land Trust Director of Conservation Planning Melanie Cirillo is helping to organize the forum.

“A lot of historic homes have been knocked down in favor of larger homes in the past year,” she said. “The question is, how do we help families learn how they can protect their properties?”

Ms. Cirillo explained that, in Southampton Town, a law was recently passed that allows people to use historic houses as accessory buildings to their new homes, creating a historic guest house on their property.

Southampton is also now able to use Community Preservation Fund money to buy façade easements on historic houses, giving homeowners an incentive to keep the history of their houses intact.

The forum will include presentations by Sally Spanburgh, Chair of Southampton Town Landmarks & Historic Districts Board and Kim Quarty, Project Manager at Peconic Land Trust. Ms. Cirillo will moderate.

Panelists will include Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, appraiser Larry Indimine and New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Board Member Michael Devonshire.

Three landowners who own historic homes will also talk about the process, including Nancy Gilbert and Richard Wines, who have preserved several historic Riverhead buildings on their farm, Wind’s Way; Linda Ewell, who owns a historic home in Water Mill; and Dan Heston, who recently did a restoration of his house in Southampton Town.

Ms. Cirillo said the Land Trust has been the recipient of donations of historic easements, which allow homeowners a tax deduction for keeping their houses intact.

“It is our mission to protect our heritage, and our historic properties are part of our heritage,” said Ms. Cirillo, who said the Land Trust works with homeowners to document whether their houses are truly historic before working on the easements.

“We’ve protected six houses for their historic value, and we have a relationship with every homeowner thereafter,” she said.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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