Dan Rattiner's Stories

What’s Happening with Those Christmas Trees on Daniels Lane?

In 2015, a wealthy investor who co-owns 43.5 oceanfront acres on Daniels Lane in Sagaponack, Marc Goldman, put up tiny Christmas trees all in a row down the lane. Some believe this was to block passersby from seeing the ocean. They say he did this because he and his partners were refused permission to build up close to the Lane because it was in a farmland preservation area. Goldman told The New York Post, “I’ve been wanting to farm that land for quite some time.”

It’s a long story. But, essentially, he was given permission in 2007 to put a house up on the Lane by the Village of Sagaponack in return for allowing a farm easement for much of the rest, but never followed through on it. And then in 2015, to a new application from the owners, the Village of Sagaponack said, you can’t.

The whole thing is a real dust-up, the evergreens soon followed, and about four months ago, Goldman submitted a proposal to build a home well back from the Lane, part way down toward the beach in a spot where others have built on an adjacent property. It seemed like a good solution, though Sagaponack is still making noises about it being not acceptable because it is in an agricultural easement area. Then, about a month after Mr. Goldman’s new application, the Village received a new application to build from Mr. Goldman’s partner in the venture, Milton Berlinski, requesting that four lots down by the ocean be approved where building is permitted.

So the Village now has applications from two different parties on the same lot. It is being sorted out by the State Supreme Court. Meanwhile the Christmas trees grow and grow, and by the rules, these Christmas trees qualify as farming. Merry Christmas!

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