Demolition By Neglect


The Planning Board of the Village of Baxter Estates had a public meeting [in December] concerning the fate of the rapidly deteriorating Baxter House. The 20-25 members of the public in attendance were universally opposed to the plan presented by the lawyer representing the owner (who does not live in the house or in this area).

The plan presented calls for dividing the property in half, building a new house on the back portion of the property, requiring a great many needed variances and a great many months of wrangling over the details. The Baxter House would then be repaired, if possible. Maybe.

Before even considering the proposal, the public should realize that the exterior of this extremely historic house is being allowed to deteriorate rapidly. The term generally used is “Demolition by Neglect.” Anyone concerned with the fate of this important and historic house should take a look from the street at the rotting roof and the gutter line with its gaping holes. With every passing rainstorm, the weather is causing the destruction of this centuries-old house that gave Baxter Estates its name.

The Village admits to having the authority to cut overgrown lawns and neglected shrubs that create an eyesore within the village, sending the resulting bills to the homeowners. Why then cannot the Village Board compel the absentee owner to make repairs to one of the most historic houses in Port Washington?

So here is my interim suggestion: If the Village cannot force the owner to affect such repairs within the coming week or two, the Village should immediately purchase blue tarps from Home Depot and tarp the entire roof. As the temperature drops, the freezing rain that the owner AND the Village officials are allowing into the house will do irreparable damage. It can be prevented in only two ways. Fix the roof and the gutters or tarp the house. Just do it. Anything less is totally irresponsible. Anything less makes the Village Trustees accomplices to the Demolition by Neglect of the Baxter House.

For information about the historic nature of the Baxter house, please visit

—Chris Bain, president

Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society



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