On Jan. 23, Keller received a call from a friend who was driving on Bellmore Avenue, and told her the house was “half-gone.” Keller said that this was how she learned of the board’s ruling to deny landmark status. She explained that, after more phone calls, she learned that demolition permits had not been issued at the time the house was razed.
“The feelings of everyone who has been working on this are shock and outrage that this could happen without permits being issued,” she said. “It’s just been a fiasco.”
Susan Trenkle-Pokalsky, a Town of Hempstead spokeswoman, said that the new owners had filed an application for a demolition permit, but it had not been approved as of Jan. 23. The town issued both a stop-work order and a summons shortly afterward.
“The owners must obtain permits to continue working on the property,” Trenkle-Pokalsky said. “The fines they may incur will be determined by the courts.”
Weiss noted that although he could not confirm what was in store for the property in the future, the new owner had previously said that two new houses will be built there. The contents of the demolished house, which Weiss said included maps, photographs and other artifacts, will be offered to the local library and other institutions for display.
Demolition of the home could have been prevented, Keller said, if her cash offer to purchase the home had been accepted. She said she had been working to accumulate the funds needed to buy the house, which she previously noted had an asking price of $250,000. She said that Weiss told her that because a sale was already in contract, she could not buy it.
“I’m still getting over the shock that we weren’t given the opportunity to make an offer,” Keller said. “Homes can just be modified, changed and swept away too easily, and it’s really such a shame.”
Weiss, however, said that supporters of the landmarking initiative never offered to buy the house, nor did they respond to a request to make an offer to buy it. He said that while they put in letters that offers had been made, this was not the case.