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Preservationists lose battle to keep Stanford Home put

Alex Brownstein, attorney for Friends of the Stanford Home, said after the decision that he didn't cite the Town Board as the lead agency because they did a SEQRA review in 2007 dealing with everything being leveled around the mansion, but a SEQRA hadn't been done on moving the mansion.

John Roth, from Highbridge, said he was pleased with the outcome. He said moving the home to the new location will allow the planned plaza to look and flow better.

"Things change, plans change and tenants change, so you have to change with the current times," said Roth when asked if the developers could have anticipated moving the home.

Linda Champagne, member of the preservation group, said this decision creates a loophole allowing developers to submit major changes to site plans without further SEQRA study.

"This is going to be a statewide implication if this goes down without a challenge," said Champagne.

Champagne also said she was disappointed town officials didn't follow SEQRA laws.

"[The developer] never wanted that building," said Champagne. "In order to get it through and get it passed, [the developer] agreed to leave it in place, restore it and of course it was left unlocked for weeks and was destroyed inside in many ways."

She said when the building is moved, the basement floor will be destroyed and the kitchen and food preparation areas are located on that floor.

"We didn't think we would get this one total denial of stopping any of the work, because they are ready to cut that thing loose and move it," said Champagne. "It is the saddest thing to look at it now."

She said the group is thinking of appealing the decision, but what could be done to the site by the time an appeal is filed and judged on is unclear.

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