Southampton Town will be holding a public hearing on adjusting the Madoo Conservancy’s historic preservation and conservation easement to allow the nonprofit to demolish a non-historic shed on the property.
Town Community Preservation Fund Manager Lisa Kombrink said the 2015 purchase, in error, included two non-historic sheds that were moved onto the property between 1960 and 1975 and connected with a flat roof. Madoo Conservancy Executive Director Alejandro Saralegui is looking to replace the structure with something similar.
“It’s in a puff-and-I’ll-blow-your-house-down state,” he said. “If we don’t do anything, it’s just going to crumble and disappear. This is our fiduciary responsibility. And like the language in the easement, we want to replace it with a ‘liken kind.’”
The project comes at a time when Saralegui said the nonprofit is trying to make Madoo more accessible to people with disabilities. Currently, the shed is used for storage and houses a non-functioning public bathroom. He said the new shed, which would cover the same footprint of the current one that is two steps off the ground, would have an Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant bathroom in the easternmost part of the structure. The center — the piece with the three mirrors that look like windows Saralegui is looking to preserve — would be a study center, and the westernmost peaked-roof structure would become a reception area with information and possibly house some items for sale.
The renovation would follow a $1.2-million restoration of Madoo’s main building, the summer house.
“We’re rebuilding Madoo to preserve it for future generations,” Saralegui said. “The goal is to have it last.”
Southampton Town purchased the easement, which prohibits the tearing down of any structures, for $600,000. Supervisor Jay Schneiderman asked the appraisal be reviewed and the town reimbursed for any potential cost of the shed before the structure is deleted from the easement. The public hearing has not yet been scheduled, Kombrink said.
“My concern is if we made an error initially and the appraised value included that structure, then we paid for something that wasn’t historic,” Schneiderman said. “We should be refunded for that portion of it.”