Saturday, March 14, 2009
New Owners of Historic Main Street Building May Demo to Make Way for Retail
By KELLY CAMPBELL
The new owners of the turn of the century home at 189 Main Street may have plans to knock it down.
At the May 27 Northport Village Planning Board meeting, a “pre-preliminary site plan application” was on the agenda for the Board. The owners, Danielle and Jonathan Panichella, canceled their appearance before the Board prior to the meeting. Board member Liz Thalheimer, however, broached the topic in the couple’s absence.
“Although it’s just heresy right now, but their long term ideas are different from the current site plan,” she said.
The Panichellas are the operators of Northport Harbor Orthodontics and Peridontics at 239 Main Street and, according to sources have five years left on their lease at that location. They recently signed an 18-month lease with Barbara Cross for 189 Main Street. She has plans to open a “tween and teen” boutique and beauty salon called Ooh La La Spa, Inc. and was given change of use approval—the location was previously Wild Rose Antiques, a retail use—a parking variance by the Northport Planning Board because a salon is a more intensive use than the previous use.
According to Mrs. Cross’ application to the Planning Board, she has an option to renew her 18-month lease following the expiration of the initial time period.
According to Mrs. Thalheimer and other reliable sources who wish to remain unnamed, the Panichellas wish to demolish the two-and-a-half story wood frame building and use the area where it stands now as a parking lot. The couple then hopes to add a second story to the large barns in the rear of the house that would include space for their orthodontist and peridontist practice as well as retail space.
“Is there anything we can do to not allow them to tear down the building?” Mrs. Thalheimer asked at the Planning Board meeting. “Don’t we have to grant them a variance for parking in the front?”
Village Assistant Attorney Ed Gathman asked if the building has any historical significance. “Because then it would be protected,” he said.
Mrs. Thalheimer, an architect, said that it has significance “ as far as streetscape. We can say we’re not going to allow any parking.”
Board Chair Rich Boziwick, Supervisor of Public Works and Mr. Gathman said that the Planning Board should not continue to discuss the “non-application” in public.
“There is no applicant here,” Mr. Boziwick said.
“You don’t know if this is even the case. They may come in and say we want to put a porch on,” Mr. Gathman said.
Mrs. Thalheimer said she was just initiating a “hypothetical conversation.”
Dr. Panichella, however, said that she and her husband are discussing the possibility “at this point.”
“We want to develop the space and have the orthodontry building there,” she said. “That is the long term plan but nothing is set in stone because we have to do our due diligence with the Village of Northport. We haven’t done anything at this point.”
The Panichellas purchased the house from Dermot and Doreen Williamson in November. It sits on a .22-acre piece of property. The current Town of Huntington taxes are $7,767.40 per year.