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Officials Walk Belfry Site, OK Capital Plan

In a busy evening, the town board walks a site designated 'historic' and approved a $4.5 million capital-spending plan.

Seeing for themselves, town board members Tuesday visited a century-old residence its new owners want to turn to rubble but a Bedford preservation panel has labeled historic, barring its destruction.

The board of the decision by the Historic Building Preservation Commission, which declared the Tudor revival-style Belfry in Katonah a candidate for historic preservation.

Carlos Benaim and his wife, Dr. Darel M. Benaim, the Belfry’s latest owners, want to raze the structure and replace it with a new home of their own. The current structure, atop a 16-acre promontory at 44 Holly Branch Road, was built in 1913.

Town code permits buildings that were constructed after 1900 and are not included within an established historic district to be protected as “historical.”

But the Benaims maintain they were never told of the Belfry’s designation—contained on a privately held list of historic town properties—before they spent $3.6 million to acquire the site. They have appealed the preservation commission’s ruling and threatened, through their lawyer, Alfred B. DelBello, to reverse it through the courts if the town board does not.

“We were anxious to see the site, to see the situation,” Supervisor Lee V.A. Roberts said later. “This decision is going to be made on the record [of the preservation-panel’s proceedings], not on new information coming in on the 15th.”

 

Board OKs capital-spending plan

Among other things, Bedford would repair some parking meters, upgrade bathrooms in the town office building and paint the outer walls of the Community House under a $4.5 million capital-spending plan approved by the town board Tuesday.

The plan, covering the years 2012 through 2020, adds $4,526,629 in long-term debt to the town’s current obligation of $51,838,398. Most of the town’s debt, which would climb to $56,365,027 with the new expenditures, was acquired in financing for the new water filtration plant.

Bea Rhodes May 03, 2012 at 06:08 PM
The house is just beautiful, how could you possibly want to tear it down. Just too sad.
Dan May 03, 2012 at 07:04 PM
What I find disturbing is the fact that the Town has had a list (22 pages with hundreds of properties) that wasn't really made public. If the current owners were made aware of this they may not of purchased it. I wonder if the Town will notify all these property owners that are on this "list"? IMHO I always considered the Katonah Hamlet, Bedford Village and area around the Bedford Train station to be in the "Historical" district and not next door to Cross River. One thing's for sure, if the Benaim's don't get approval there will be a lawsuit......and guess who pays?
Ross Revira May 03, 2012 at 07:29 PM
I appreciate historical preservation as much as anyone. What I abhor is the government confiscation of real property. If this parcel was publicly designated as historical and the Benaim's purchased it anyway that is their problem. If not then I urge them to sue the Town of Bedford to make them whole. This kind of government interference in regards to the use of one's property usually occurs in the determination of where wetlands are. Nobody knows until you want to build.

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