BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — People living in one Long Island village are fighting to save two historic buildings from the wrecking ball.
They want new laws to block demolition and upgrades to buildings that are hundreds of year sold.
In the heart of Babylon Village, along West Main Street, the Selah Smith Carll house circa 1826, which neighbors the Southside Signal Building — 1869, could be on the chopping block.
A developer who bought the historic structures with plans to remodel, now wants to demolish.
“There’s no protection or even any process to review older structures or landmark structures such as this,” Ann Curry said.
Hundreds of residents are now petitioning their local leaders.
“The goal is to create a code so that the village can protect buildings like this. We lost three important buildings just this summer alone,” James Muller said, “This is what makes the village, its charm its character.”
Homeowners claim Babylon’s architectural heritage is under threat.
“We don’t want to take people’s right away, but by the same token we don’t want to lose all of the historical buildings in this village,” Mary Gallagher, Heritage Conservancy President, said.
Main Street has been a source of pride for centuries — landmark churches, the old town hall, and preservation societies are within a stone’s throw of the buildings threatened with tear-down.
One building was home to the first newspaper in the area. The Homestead is the birthplace of the town and village.
“The building codes weren’t as stringent back then, so you see a lot of the houses starting to sag. A lot of money to restore them, rehab them, and bring them back to their former glory,” Joseph Klom said.
The developer told the town that old buildings are often dilapidated, and may be unsafe, and structurally dangerous.
He hopes to replace them with a brick building with retail space, apartments, and parking.
Homeowners hope the petition is the beginning of a grass roots movement compelling the village to create a historic code that both developers and residents can support.
Babylon’s mayor, planning board, and trustees are withholding comment. The zoning board meets Wednesday.