March 16, 2012

List of historic homes must be made public

Bedford’s Historic Building Preservation Commission will be meeting Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. at 425 Cherry St. to discuss a star of long-ago architectural magazines, a Tudor-style residence on 16 acres on Mount Holly Road, built by Gordon Knox Bell, a local socialite, in 1913. The existing 9,000-square-foot house is known as the Belfry.

The current owners, who bought the home in February 2011 for $3.6 million, want to tear it down to build a new home, while area preservationists and neighbors have expressed concern for its loss. Whether or not the Belfry is actually something within the jurisdiction of this commission has yet to be firmly established.

For historic districts and homes built before 1900 the rules are pretty clear. For those who reside in the Bedford Village Historic District or the Katonah Historic District, or with a home on the National Register of Historic Places, a process is set in place. The building inspector refers the demolition permit application to the Historic Building Preservation Commission for a determination as to whether a permit should be issued.

Other homes are not so clear as to their historical importance, and as a result, the decision to tear them down may not be so clear either. Such is the case with the Belfry.

Clearly the building was not built before 1900, is not in the historic districts or on the National Register of Historic Places. However, it could plausibly fall into the category of the following code criteria, including historical associations, lives of former residents of significance, whether it “embodies a great idea or ideal,” or is of architectural or cultural importance.

The commission has a list of historic properties — but so far, the list is not available to the public. If so, how can homeowners recognize that this home, or any other that doesn’t fit Bedford’s criteria, be labeled a historic home?

The homeowners said at an earlier session that at the time of the $3 million purchase in February they were unaware of the inclusion of the Belfry on the list of homes, and bought it with the intention of tearing it down. They said they would never have purchased the property if they had known there would be a problem demolishing the existing home.

At a meeting earlier this year, the agent at the sale said that he had been aware of the ordinance that was enacted after concerns about a house on nearby Mount Holly Road in 2003. But he said that subsequently he had been unable to obtain a full list of houses from the commission that they thought were of significance and would require review.

Commission chairman John Stockbridge said that the list is not shared with the public because it is a work in progress. Members of the commission have said that it is better that “everyone” consider their property a historical home.

Even in its working state, any list that could eventually be used to make a determination as to the disposition of property in Bedford should be made public. While caveat emptor may hold true, the buyer also has a fair expectation to be made aware of the deeds and restrictions on the property.

Table for two, s’il vous plait

A few years back, there were so few dining options that one restaurant actually billed itself as “the only restaurant in Katonah.” Good news is that the area is sprouting new restaurants at a fast pace, and they’ve each got something fantastic to offer. Just think of all the cuisines that have come to our area — Thai, Greek, Indian, Ethiopian, Jamaican, Mediterranean and many more.

One way to get a glimpse of the area’s fare is by taking advantage of Restaurant Week, starting Sunday, March 18, and running through Saturday, March 31. More than 200 Hudson Valley restaurants have agreed to serve three-course lunches for $20.95, and three-course dinners for $29.95.

It’s a great time to try a place you haven’t tried before, and maybe an old standby you haven’t visited in a while. It is a good bet the restaurateur who participates in Restaurant Week is aiming to please.

Restaurants in the Bedford area that are participating in Restaurant Week include the Barn at Bedford Post in Bedford; Le Fontane Restaurant in Katonah; DiNardo’s in Pound Ridge; 121 Restaurant in North Salem; Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua; Cafe of Love, Eduardo’s, Enzo’s and Lexington Square Cafe in Mount Kisco; Moderne Barn in Armonk; and the Iron Horse Grill in Pleasantville.

With the arrival of Jeans-Georges just around the corner, you know these guys will be on their game. Check it out. For the most updated list of participating restaurants, visit

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Perks – 197 Katonah Avenue    

  4. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  5. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  6. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

  2. Connie’s at Northern Westchester Hospital
    400 E. Main Street    

South Salem/Vista

  1. JNR Pharmacy – 222 Oakridge Commons;
    Route 123   

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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