The race is on.
The village Historic Review Board decided today to redesignate Clovelea (the Dragon Inn) a historic landmark after the village attorney said the original 2007 designation would not hold up in court. At the same time, the owner of the property is requesting a demolition permit.
In any event, the issue seems sure to end up in the courts.
“We will all hang together,” said Richard Frisbie, chair of the village Historic Review Board, paraphrasing a quote by Benjamin Franklin.
The quote came after three of the board’s four members voted to seek historic designation. Frisbie cast the deciding vote, with David Minch and Michael Fanelli also voting in favor and Brian Wilson voting against.
All attendees at a public hearing on the demolition question expressed opposition. The board closed the public hearing and will have five days to come to a decision on the demolition, which it is of course expected to deny. Owner Ching Ya Wu will then be able to appeal to the Village Board, which will have 30 days to decide the matter.
The option to appeal to the Village Board was always possible, regardless of historic designation status. The review board will need to hold another properly advertised public hearing and process the required paper work for designation. If can do this before the owner can prepare a demolition permit, which must include plans to abate asbestos or lead paint that might be in the building, it will strengthen its case. If not, building inspector Eyal Saad will grant the permit.
What it all means, one village official said, is “it will end up in court with the village having to bear the costs.”