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Aug 31, 2019 11:04 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Stakes Get Higher In Stony Hill Farm Clearing In Amagansett

The Stony Hill Farm subdivision plan as it was approved in the mid 1990s. The property where the trees were cleared is outlined in blue.
Sep 3, 2019 1:46 PM

The Peconic Land Trust is seeking some $100 million — or $1 million per tree — in punitive damages from Randy Lerner after dozens of trees were cut down on an Amagansett property only days after he purchased it at the end of July.

The trust says the clearing was an “egregious” violation of a conservation easement that it holds, that it should have been notified before the trees were cleared, and that its representatives were denied access to the property.

Mr. Lerner’s representatives say the clearing conformed to an agricultural easement held by the trust and required by the East Hampton Town Planning Board, and that Mr. Lerner’s plan, in keeping with the agricultural easement’s intent, is to restore the property to agricultural use.

This week, an attorney for the trust filed an amended complaint in State Supreme Court that seeks not only “at least $1 million for each tree that was cut down,” as well as money to cover the trust’s attorneys’ fees, but also asks the court to make Mr. Lerner restore the property.

Mr. Lerner’s attorneys, in turn, filed papers two days later asking the court to vacate a temporary restraining order secured by the trust earlier this month, or at least to modify it to allow the cleared trees to be removed so that perimeter trees that have already been delivered can be planted, as well as a cover crop. They also request that the trust post a $1.5 million bond to cover potential damages if the temporary restraining order continues or if an injunction is granted.

The almost 6-acre property is vacant, and Mr. Lerner owns farmland and a residential property next door.

The actor Alec Baldwin, who also lives in the Stony Hill neighborhood, wrote in a letter to The East Hampton Star this week that he had notified the Peconic Land Trust about the tree clearing.

Representatives of Mr. Lerner and 341 Town Lane LLC, the property’s official owner, and of the Peconic Land Trust are due to appear in court in Riverhead on Thursday, September 5.

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Power corrupts.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Fiddle Fiddle fiddle !!!

By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Aug 31, 19 11:18 AM
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Aug 31, 19 11:29 AM
And Mr. Lerner needs to be banished from here. Doesn't anyone who's running the east end towns see what they have been allowing.

Go away Mr. Lerner.
By rvs (106), sag harbor on Aug 31, 19 1:32 PM
A million dollars a tree?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 31, 19 1:33 PM
Is he planting a horse farm?
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Aug 31, 19 6:07 PM
Having read all of the legal papers filed in this case (available to all on NYS eCourts website), it is clear to me that the heart of the controversy is that a limited liability company controlled by Randy Lerner has acted as if it had the right to substitute itself for The Peconic Land Trust, Inc. (PLT), as the Grantee in the (Corrective) Deed of Conservation Easement that was conveyed by the Potter family members that created the 'Stony Hill Farm' Open Space Subdivision in 1995. Randy's gang ...more
By davbud (127), east hampton on Aug 31, 19 9:55 PM
As someone who abhors 8, 9, even 10-foot tall Agricultural deer fences that are in close proximity to a public roadway, one of the most interesting aspects of this matter is that since Lerner's "secret" plan could not be "let out of the bag" by having to go before the Architectural Review Board for approval of any deer fencing greater than 6 foot tall, the plan prepared by Marders for this property would use two parallel 4-foot tall wire fences as "deer protection" and to surround them with American ...more
By davbud (127), east hampton on Aug 31, 19 10:06 PM
Thanks for the research Davbud. That distinction, the "agricultural" in "agricultural reserved area" will be all the excuse the Judge needs to rule in favor of Mr. Lerner, especially after the prerequisite visit to the Dominican Republic where a party functionary will take possession of the paper bag full of cash.

If eventually enforced, any fines will cause the LLC, not Mr and Mrs Lerner, to file bankruptcy and destroy any chance to remedy the damage caused.

Good news for us ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Sep 1, 19 9:25 AM
It's called property rights we don't need people like David Budd interfering on our rights to have private land. Where in the Constitution does it say we have to have infringements on our rights from planning boards?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 2, 19 4:23 PM
Zoning is authorized by the "police powers" vested in a government elected by the people. The alternative is anarchy. David Buda
By davbud (127), east hampton on Sep 2, 19 10:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yeah anarchy will be caused by less zoning lol. Now you have a police state elected by the people because we have no choice. You would of been a hit in the days of Hitler. By the way show me where it says in the constitution you can infringe on my rights.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 3, 19 9:19 AM
The word "Republic".

"Greg, look at my thumb..."
Sep 7, 19 6:09 PM appended by Mr. Z
Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 7, 19 6:09 PM
N7660, N88CP, N711DS, N35HF, N 48ZA, N404TD, N7679, N176MT, N98ZA, N7601S, N404TD, N7679S, N212K, N711 DS, N408GG, N131 TD, N777ZA, N353JS, N7660S, S76LLC, N7667S, N661 AT, N7660S, N431AF, N355MT, N430AG, N638MF, N18F, N301CV, N945RF, N155RR, N661AT, N179MT, N431HF, N355MT, N176MT, N7601S, N98ZA, N167MT. Only 43 helicopter overflights on Labor Day. Did you have your windows open or in central air? n88za, n176mt, n7601s, n404td, n7679s were all scud running and flying udring the tornado warning. ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Sep 3, 19 9:43 AM
Get a life it's only a helicopter
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 3, 19 12:51 PM
Chief, that’s the point. Tough having a life with all the noise. It’s a quality of life issue.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Sep 3, 19 1:17 PM
Chief1, have you read the New York State Constitution lately? David Buda
By davbud (127), east hampton on Sep 3, 19 3:57 PM
Have you read the US constitution or bill of rights? Doubtful
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 4, 19 10:49 AM
They were required readings in Law School.
By davbud (127), east hampton on Sep 8, 19 1:06 PM
They were required readings in Law School.
By davbud (127), east hampton on Sep 8, 19 1:08 PM
Chief1... You seem to be overlooking the 200 years of settled law that came after those documents... In this case, the restrictions were willingly entered into by all parties.
By Just sitting on the taffrail (41), Southampton on Sep 7, 19 10:14 AM
No land.the town's force you to do these conservation easements and preservation on private l
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 8, 19 11:32 AM
In today’s 2-tiered justice system, he will never be held accountable and can do whatever we wants without impunity. You can’t stop him here.- he’s paid the right people.
Sep 12, 19 8:53 AM appended by even flow
“with impunity”.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Sep 12, 19 8:53 AM