In what seems to be a play to reclaim the title of East End's #1 Pariah from Molly Zweig, Anthony G. Petrello has filed suit against the village of Sagaponack. Readers might remember the Texas oilman was featured in a recent issue of Vanity Fair where he was referred to as "a modern-day Satan" in response to his lawsuit against a local farming family. A suit that ended in his favor after ten years in court.
At issue now is a recently enacted village law prohibiting new construction within 125 feet of the ocean dunes. Prior to this new law, the town had approved plans in May of this year for the construction of a two-story, five-bedroom home. This approval was granted based upon the state's regulations not Sagaponack's. But now that this requirement is in place, the original plans need to be modified to account for the village's more generous setback.
Mr. Petrello (and his attorneys) believe that the village has exceeded the authority granted to municipalities by New York State's Environmental Conservation Law. A lawyer speaking on his behalf, Nica Strunk, stated, "The state Environmental Conservation Law doesn't allow regulation landward of the coastal erosion hazard line by municipalities. This adjacent area, the 125 feet landward, is not anywhere in the state law. Our position is that this law is...outside of their power as municipality."
Perhaps the most unfortunate part of this whole brouhaha is all of it could have been avoided had there been any construction on the house. According to Sagaponack Village Clerk Rhodi Winchell, "Had they been vested, then they wouldn't have been in this predicament."