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Historic farmhouse on Potomac saved with landmark status

The yellow farmhouse house on Potomac Avenue that once belonged to one of Buffalo’s most prominent residents will stay put and get renovated after the Common Council designated it a city landmark.

But seven new townhomes may be going up on the property where the garage is located, after developers were given the green light last month to demolish it.

"The house won’t move and will be rehabbed. The garage will be knocked down to build the townhomes," said Delaware  Council Member  Joel P. Feroleto, whose district contains the property.

The owner – Dennis Barry – plans to seek state and federal tax credits to rehab the house 794 Potomac, Feroleto said.

Barry originally wanted to demolish the house to make way for 26 apartments, but neighbors objected to the idea, Feroleto said.

"It was not in the style and character of the neighborhood. Most of the properties there are doubles," Feroleto said.

The house once was the home of John Chase Lord, a lawyer, poet and Presbyterian minister in the 1800s.

The Council’s decision this week to grant it landmark status was the culmination of a long process.

Representatives for Barry twice challenged the city Preservation Board’s interest in recommending the house be landmarked. Last month, hey sought permission to knock down the house to make way for 11 new townhouses. The board rejected that request but said the garage on the property could be demolished.

Then the owner’s sister, Beverly Barry, along with developer Bart Melchiorre and block club members came back and asked the board to table the matter for 90 days, saying they were working with neighbors to come up with an alternative proposal and see if there was a way to incorporate the house into development plans.

But Preservation Board members rejected that request, saying landmarking the site would only help their efforts because tax credits would be available to rehab the home.

Under the current zoning, the owner is allowed to build up to 13 units, but he is only going to do seven, Feroleto said.

"Neighbors have been engaged through the entire process," Feroleto said. "They are very happy with the owner’s new plan to do seven townhomes."

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