By Patrick Donachie
The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a historical Bayside house for landmarking status, all but assuring that the property will attain the designation.
The LPC agreed to consider landmarking the Lydia Ann Bell and William J. Ahles House at 39-26 213th St. at a meeting in February. Now that the commission has approved the property for landmarking, the next and final step will be a vote by the New York City Council, which should take place in the next two to four months.
City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) said the vote was a long time coming and he did not expect any opposition in the Council to the approval.
Though the LPC does not need the blessing of the Council to designate landmarks, the Council will vote on whether it wants to change the LPC’s designation. However, on landmarking votes like this, the Council tends to uniformly vote in step with the Council member who represents the area where the potential landmarked building is, according to Lionel Morales, Vallone’s director of communications.
Vallone (D-Bayside) represents the area that includes the Bell and Ahles House and joined with Community Board 11 to support the landmarking, which likely assures its passage in the Council.
“It was good to see the commissioner took our recommendations, and it’s good to see the community board’s wishes being upheld” he said. “To preserve a piece of our own Bayside history is a great win for the whole community.”
The house was built by Robert Bell as a gift for his daughter Lydia and her husband William in 1873, according to the Historic District Council’s informational page on the house. It is considered to be one of the oldest homes still standing in the Bayside area. The house first became considered for landmarking in 2009 after a seven-year push by former City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and community preservationists to advocate for the designation.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona