East Hampton ZBA Rejects Duryea’s CO

Attorneys representing the Town of East Hampton, Steve Stern, Chelsea Weisbord, and Leo Dorfman leaving the state courthouse in Riverhead after conference in chambers August 14. Independent/T. E. McMorrow

The East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals agreed, in principle, to revoke the certificate of occupancy issued for Duryea’s Dock earlier this year. The vote, which is an unofficial straw poll meant to guide the crafting of a written decision, was 4-0 in favor of revocation.Chairman John Whelan recused himself, because an architectural firm he works with, Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects, was hired by Marc Rowan, the billionaire owner of Duryea’s, to design another Montauk project.

The CO was issued by East Hampton Town’s lead building inspector, Anne Glennon, in February after she was pressured to do so, according to the inspector, as part of a stipulation of settlement with the town, which has since sought for that for it to be overturned.

The ZBA acknowledged that its decision, even after members sign off on the written determination being prepared by outside counsel Gary Weintraub, will not be binding. At least for now. The judge handling Rowan’s four lawsuits against the town, Justice David Reilly, has ruled that the certificate of occupancy is to remain in effect until he rules on the town’s motion to overturn the settlement signed former Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski.

At the same time, the attorney handling the matter for the town, Steve Stern of Carle Place-based Sokoloff Stern LLP, has launched a preliminary request in the state court’s appellate division, asking the court to allow the town to challenge Reilly’s decision regarding the ZBA.

“Under well-settled law, the ZBA must have the opportunity to review the building inspector’s actions before a Supreme Court may exercise jurisdiction,” the appeal filed by the town reads.

Both sides had a prolonged conference in Reilly’s chambers August 14. That closed-door session lasted 40 minutes.

Rowan’s attorneys would not comment leaving the courthouse, referring all questions to Rowan’s public relations firm. Stern said, as he left with his team, “I continue to believe that the settlement agreement will ultimately be vacated, as there is no basis to have it enforced. The town board neither voted on it nor authorized it. In fact, they never saw it.”

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