Judge Nixes Landmarks-Approved Addition at the Dean Sage House in Crown Heights

The mansion in 2018. Photo by Craig Hubert


In an unparalleled move, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Katherine Levine earlier this month struck down approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission of a plan to build an addition to the landmarked Dean Sage House in Crown Heights.

The decision was made on April 2, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The certificate of appropriateness granted by the LPC was annulled.

“The court finds that it was arbitrary for LPC to downplay the importance of the original formal garden as a component which defined the free standing nature of the mansion … and treat it as if it were some step child that just serendipitously arose,” the decision says. It goes on to say that the commission “considered factors that were outside of its jurisdiction” in its approval process.

brooklyn development 839 st marks avenue

The ruling is a rare win for neighborhood residents and community groups against an approved development. The Crown Heights North Association, Bergen-Kingston Block Association and St. Marks Avenue Independent Block Association brought an article 78 proceeding against the city. The decision requires the LPC to hold another hearing on the proposed addition.

Located at 839 St. Marks Avenue, right across the street from the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the High Victorian Gothic rock-faced brownstone was built for the aforementioned lumber magnate, a friend of Mark Twain, in 1869-70.

The house was purchased in 1998 by the nonprofit Institute for Community Living and currently houses developmentally disabled adults.

[Photos by Craig Hubert]

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