To the editor:
There are a number of reasons why the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation Board of Directors opposes this application.
Most importantly, the building and its barn are on the National Register of Historic Places (National Register). During the 1980s, time and funding constraints meant only a small selection of the potential candidates could be listed on the National Register.
Only 25 of the most significant were chosen. The demolition of the Comstock house under the circumstances here would set a poor precedent for Cazenovia, which itself was designated on the National Register in November 1987 as the country’s first Town Multiple Resource Area. CPF is categorically against the demolition of any National Register building except in a compelling case and this request is not a compelling case.
Another reason CPF opposes the demolition permit application is that the Village and Town Comprehensive Plan of 2008 calls for identifying, protecting and enhancing all gateways to the village to maintain the distinction between its character and the rural town character [Comprehensive Plan page 17]. On the north side of Route 20, the Comstock farmstead and the knoll upon which it sits form the gateway on the east edge of the village.
The Comstock house is prominent and has become a visual landmark in its position. It retains its original exterior design and scale, thereby creating the architectural preface or gateway for the village. Given the importance of this and other gateways to the community, a serious attempt should be made to save it.
The farm has value to New York State as evidenced by the designation of Route 20 as a Scenic Byway. A goal of the designation is to emphasize the importance of historic preservation on Route 20 as a scenic corridor across the state, thus giving drivers who are tired of thruways an attractive, friendly, tourist-oriented alternative.