ZBA Approves Plan To Save The Dimon Farmhouse In Water Mill - 27 East

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ZBA Approves Plan To Save The Dimon Farmhouse In Water Mill

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The Dimon Farmhouse at 14 Flying Point Road, Water Mill.  DANA SHAW

The Dimon Farmhouse at 14 Flying Point Road, Water Mill. DANA SHAW

The Dimon Farmhouse at 14 Flying Point Road, Water Mill.  DANA SHAW

The Dimon Farmhouse at 14 Flying Point Road, Water Mill. DANA SHAW

C. Edwin Dimon and his sister Katheryn in front of the Dimon Farmhouse in the 1890s. COURTESY CHRIS DIMON

C. Edwin Dimon and his sister Katheryn in front of the Dimon Farmhouse in the 1890s. COURTESY CHRIS DIMON

An unidentified man out front of the Dimon farmhouse in the 1950s or 1960s.  COURTESY CHRIS DIMON

An unidentified man out front of the Dimon farmhouse in the 1950s or 1960s. COURTESY CHRIS DIMON

Brendan J. O’Reilly on Jul 20, 2022

The Dimon Farmhouse, a Water Mill home that dates back to the mid to late 19th century, will be saved from the wrecking ball under a recently approved plan to move the structure, landmark it and subdivide the property.

The Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals officially greenlit the plan on July 7. The house at 14 Flying Point Road won’t be moved far — only to another spot on the existing property, where it will be placed on a new foundation, restored and given a new addition. Then, owner Jason Khan will build a new home on the separate lot created by the subdivision.

Chris Dimon — a Southampton resident and great-grandson of C. Edwin Dimon, who operated a dairy farm there that was originally 90 acres — said last week that he is pleased with the outcome. The Dimon family had owned the property since 1823, he said. The house was passed down through the generations. The last Dimon to live there was his great aunt, Edna Dimon Boyd, who moved out around 2004.

“My goal wasn’t necessarily to have it landmarked,” Chris Dimon said. “I just hated to see it torn down.”

The town’s historic survey of Water Mill states that the house was built circa 1885 but also notes that “Dimon house” is marked on a 1858 map and “the home of L.C. Dimon” is marked on an 1873 map. The survey describes the house as a cross-gable structure that “combines elements of the Queen Anne and Gothic Revival styles” with “kicked eaves” and “clad in patterned wood shingles.”

At the ZBA’s June hearing, Southampton Town Planning Director David Wilcox, speaking on behalf of the Landmarks & Historic Districts Board, explained how the plan to save the house was devised.

“The landmarks board had this property in front of them for a demolition referral, and they recognized the importance of the house,” Wilcox told the ZBA members. “And they recommended that the house not be demolished and suggested that the town look for a way that we could preserve the house.”

The plan uses the town code provision that enables the ZBA to grant special relief for historic landmarks, he explained. “This house does qualify for landmarking,” he added.

Wilcox noted that the landmarks board and the Department of Land Management asked the applicant to agree to this plan.

“This is not something they had any intention or desire to do, but when the town convinced them that this was something that we would like to see done, they’ve been working with us from day one to see if it can happen,” he said.

Khan’s architect, Ryan Kesner, told the ZBA that his client had planned to raze the existing house and build a compound with a house, pool, tennis court and a small recreational building.

He noted that the house is in disrepair: “The floors are rotting. The foundation is not in a good place. There’s a tree actually growing through the garage at the moment.”

But when the town asked that the house be preserved, his client agreed, Kesner said.

Khan was previously responsible for the restoration of 1 Wooley Street, another 19th century historic home, in Southampton Village.

Addressing the board himself, Khan said preservation was his original intent for 14 Flying Point Road.

“Originally, being in preservation work myself for 20 years and having just done extensive restoration in the village, my heart was to restore,” he said. “But again we find ourselves in a crazy world of hyperinflation and crazy charges for labor, materials, everything — you can name it. So the decision was made to demo because of those variables.”

He thanked the land management team, Wilcox and the landmarks board for passionately pursuing preservation. “It’s very admirable, and it forced someone like me to rethink the whole thing to save this house. And I do believe it’s a worthwhile endeavor,” he said.

Kesner said on Friday that the project has all the approvals it needs, will get rolling quickly and “will be exquisite at the end of the day.”

Khan said on Friday that the move and restoration of the Dimon house will happen simultaneously to the development of the new house. Once the parcel is subdivided, the Dimon house will be on a 27,557-square-foot lot and the new build will be on 62,905 square feet.

The Dimon house will get a full basement — it only has a crawlspace now — and a rear-yard addition will replace the existing, collapsed, attached garage, Khan said.

The look of the house from the exterior will remain the same: the clapboard, fenestrations and roofline.

Khan said restoration is more labor intensive and more expensive, requiring “surgical incision framing,” but he also emphasized that preservation of old homes is important.

“These homes represent the true charm and intrinsic value of the town,” Khan said.

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