2018-04-12 / Columnists

Babylon News & Muse

•Sorry I missed the column last week. More important news had to be delivered.

To me, the most important news have is the demolition of the lovely and charming cottage on West Main Street at Mansfield Road, opposite Fancy Lee. This lovely cottage has been at that corner since before there was a Mansfield Road. The most charming building on Main Street, its fate was decided the minute Ken Rogers of Rogers Development bought it a year ago.

Rogers also slated the former South Side Signal newspaper headquarters, more recently known as the Red Lion, for demolition. Both buildings were historically important, but it appears that nothing could sway the developer.

Rogers has lived in Babylon for 20+ years and has done a lot of construction work locally. In addition to the Village Conservancy, representatives of the Village, Town and County governments tried to convince Rogers that the buildings should be saved. In spite of being told prior to his purchase that his plan to add a third story to the replacement of the Signal building was contrary to Village codes, he has argued that the codes should be altered for his project. At no time did he show any intent to compromise.

Please do not misunderstand. The actions taken by Rogers are completely legal, although so many Village residents asked him not to demolish the buildings. Rogers is a talented builder, who could have done a fine job restoring the historical buildings. But he told the Conservancy that he would not do so. He wanted to build two buildings after taking the originals down, but wanted to add a third story to the one replacing the Signal building. That way he could have four apartments to rent out and make a substantial profit.

But he knew from the beginning that the Village would not allow a third floor in that location, as the majority of buildings on Mansfield are private homes and codes regarding density in that area are strictly enforced.

The last time I asked the Building Inspector’s Office, all three of the plans he had submitted had been withdrawn. Stay tuned…

•The Pilot Club of Babylon is holding a fundraiser this weekend in conjunction with the South Shore Theatre Experience at 115 South Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst. “The Phantom of Fenway,” a murder mystery, which includes the show, hors d’oeuvres, dessert and wine, will be performed this Sunday evening at 7 p.m. Tickets for the evening are $35, all-inclusive. For tickets, please call Eleanore O’Connor at 631-422-0097.

•Additionally, the Pilot Club will be holding its Annual High Tea for Senior Citizens on Sun., May 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church on East Main Street. Attendance is free, but seniors are asked to bring a paper goods item for the Food Pantry. Reservations are required and space is limited. Please call Judy Skillen at 631-422- 6037 or Jerri Romeo at 631-661-3302 as soon as possible.

•There is some good news for boaters who used to visit Frank & Dick’s, a group of rickety buildings in the Great South Bay that had provisioned a loyal set of customers, selling fuel, food, bait and tackle since 1942. The entire island where the shop was located was covered by more than four feet of water by Hurricane Sandy. This basically put an end to the popular service center east of the Captree Bridge. However, Ray and Cheryl Latif of Wantagh, former patrons of the location, purchased the site in 2015 with plants to rebuild and reopen the service station, etc. Latif has a marine construction company in Ronkonkoma and they plan to build a new shop, consisting of three buildings. The shop will include a restaurant, fueling station, bait and tackle area, as well as living quarters for an employee. All parts of the new station will be elevated 10 feet above the island.

The Latifs are working with the Town of Babylon, which owns the 18-acre island known as Seganus Thatch South. The couple will pay back taxes and lease payments owed by the previous owners. In addition to the Town, the couple will be working with the County, state and federal governments. The new owners will remove all man-made material on the island, before rebuilding from scratch. The estimated total cost for the project is $1.4 million dollars. It’s unclear at this time when the complex will reopen.

•I was looking at some things on Facebook this evening and came across two gorgeous photos taken by Liz DeLesia at Argyle Park this month. The first was taken right after the last nor’easter, showing the path called the Ramble, along Argyle Lake. It is printed below for your enjoyment.

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