A local effort to preserve a historic Bellmore house, which began more than two years ago, was defeated recently by the Hempstead town board. The home in question, - the "Stevens" house, - was demolished two weeks ago.
Local residents mounted an effort to have landmark status conferred on the home of the late Stan Stevens, a bayman and tugboat captain who they said dredged the land to fill in the wetlands where south Bellmore is now. The town board held a hearing on Sept. 4, focused on the possibility of granting landmark status to the house, but it denied the request on Dec. 11.
The 1920s-style bungalow had been for sale since the death of Stan Stevens’s daughter, Joan, in 2009. David Weiss, the trustee of the estate, said the board’s decision allowed the beneficiaries, including family friends and two local animal shelters, to collect money from the sale of the home to a local builder.
“The client was relieved that the estate has been settled and that Joan Stevens’s wishes, as expressed in her will and trust, have been carried out,” Weiss said.
Advocates for preservation of the home said they were surprised by both the board’s decision and the fact that the demolition of the house, at 2396 Bellmore Ave., began two weeks ago.
Christine Keller, a Bellmorite and an educator at SUNY Old Westbury, spearheaded the preservation effort in October 2010. With the support of local officials and preservation groups that Keller said agreed that the architecture and the former owner of the home represent Bellmore’s maritime traditions, the Town of Hempstead Landmarks Preservation Committee recommended granting landmark status to the home last February, which would have limited changes that could be made to the home, in addition to preventing it from being razed.
Keller said that she was not only surprised that the town board’s decision was inconsistent with the committee’s recommendation, but also angered that the home was already demolished.