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Letter: Save Inisfada

We encourage our North Hills neighbors to stand up and be heard by their Village Government. Save Inisfada from demolition by having the Mayor and Board of Trustees create an Historic Preservation Board and designate Inisfada as an Historic Village Landmark before it is demolished. 


We also encourage the Village of North Hills Mayor and Board of Trustees to recognize Inisfada as an historic structure with unique architectural features and environmental significance in the same way the previous Mayor and Board of Trustees determined so in 1982. 


The August 19th, 2013 “Inisfada Update” posted on the Village of North Hills website provides us with the current status of this building and property. We are thankful that the Village is providing updated information on this important matter. According to the update letter only single family homes, a religious use, a non commercial club or a government use is permitted on this site. However the Village Code Chapter 215 Zoning, Article IV Use Regulations was not included in this update letter and this provision of the Village Code provides for another permitted use. 


Back on October 27th, 1982 the Mayor and the Board of Trustees of the Village of North Hills adopted a special permitted use for Estate Buildings within the Inisfada R3 zone, greater than 8,000 square feet and constructed prior to May 1st, 1932. If an Estate Building or an Estate Complex (property) is found to have historic, unique architectural features or special environmental features it can qualify for an approved apartment building. Section 215‐22 Subsection K (3) goes further and states the Board shall consider the age, history, architectural or historical style, craftsmanship, uniqueness, environmental value, topographical significance and the irreplaceability of any such building. 


It would appear the Board did specifically take Inisfada into account when this law was enacted. The one restriction is that no more than 8 apartments would be permitted. However, upon Board of Zoning and Appeals variance approval more than 8 apartments could be built. A creative solution could be the adaptive reuse of Inisfada to Senior Residences with a Community Center. 


The Manhasset Preservation Society encourages the new owner, the residents of North Hills as well as the Government to recognize this important local law and to preserve this unique building which by all accounts conforms to Chapter 215 of the North Hills Zoning Law as an irreplaceable historic structure with unique architectural style, magnificent craftsmanship and located within a well preserved natural environment above a sole source aquifer. 


Norman Nemec AIA 


Manhasset Preservation Society