Peconic Land Trust Receives Historical Preservation Easement on Sleight House in Stony Brook

May 21, 2015

MAY 21, 2015. SOUTHAMPTON, NY. John v.H. Halsey, President of the Peconic Land Trust, is pleased to announce that Elizabeth and Brian Merrick have donated a Historic Preservation and Conservation Easement on the Sleight House and the surrounding 1.2 acre property in Stony Brook, New York.

The property is located north of Stony Brook Harbor on Christian Avenue in the Stony Brook Historic District, a Town of Brookhaven designation. On March 26 of this year, the Brookhaven Town Board designated the property as a Town Landmark—formally recognizing the Sleight House’s significance in Stony Brook’s rich history.

“This House has been important to my family for a long time, and we wanted to make sure that its historic character would always be preserved. We’re so pleased that our partnership with the Peconic Land Trust has enabled us to accomplish this,” said Mrs. Merrick.

Built by Charles M. Sleight, the owner of a prominent wheelwright and carpentry business around 1880, the Sleight House remained in the Sleight family until the early

1960s. Mr. Sleight’s wife, Adella Abigail Sleight, was a descendent of the Bayles and Hawkins families, both of whom were descendants of Brookhaven’s first settlers. The family’s archives, including photographs and newspaper clippings, are a part of the collection of the Three Village Historical Society.

“By taking the additional step of placing a Historic Preservation and Conservation Easement on the Sleight House, the Merricks have protected the home's historic integrity for future generations. We are thankful to both Elizabeth and Brian for preserving a part of Stony Brook’s historic character,” said John v.H. Halsey, President, Peconic Land Trust.

The Sleight House is a Folk Victorian home with Queen Anne embellishments—a popular design along Long Island’s North Shore during the late 19th century. Other historic features of the Sleight House include a common “L” shape cross gable configuration with simple treatment of the exterior walls, decorative verge board sawn balusters, sawn bracketing, and a decorative gable end treatment. The front porch is also original to the House and stretches nearly across its entire West façade.

Although the Town’s Historic District, through the Historic District Advisory Committee, provides oversight of the Sleight House by typically requiring review and approval for additions and alterations, the Merricks’ donation of an easement goes above and beyond local governance and permanently protects and preserves the Sleight House and the surrounding property’s historical, cultural, scenic and aesthetic values – specifically:

  • the exterior façade, elevations, fenestration, and roofs of the Sleight House in their current location and style are preserved and protected,
  • future expansion of the House’s footprint and its total square footage is prohibited,
  • the number and size of the accessory structures on the property are limited, and
  • the scenic view of the House from Christian Avenue is protected.

As part of the easement process, an Historic Structure and Significance Report was prepared by Stony Brook architect and Brookhaven Historic District Advisory Committee member, John Cunniffe, and is included in the easement documents to serve as a baseline for the Trust’s enforcement of the easement.

“With the Merricks’ foresight and the Peconic Land Trust’s skill set to properly guide and execute this Historic Preservation and Conservation Easement, not only does the historic nature of the Sleight House remain protected, a new precedent has been set in this very important historic corridor. The preservation of “context” has been achieved through this process and simply put is priceless,” said John Cunniffe.

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