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Jan 9, 2018 5:18 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Judge Dismisses Part Of Bistrian Lawsuit Over Amagansett Land Access Road

Jan 9, 2018 5:23 PM

A State Supreme Court judge last week tossed out a key component of the Bistrian family’s lawsuit against East Hampton Town, which seeks to compel the town to create a road into family-owned land in Amagansett so that it can be developed.

The ruling, which an attorney for the Bistrians said would almost certainly be appealed, said that the family could not demand that the town create a new road into the property based simply on the fact that they had given the town land on which to someday create the road.

Supreme Court Justice Joseph C. Pastoressa said that the 1971 agreement that deeded 3 acres of land, running from the 33-acre property to Windmill Lane, for use as a future access road should the property be developed, did not obligate the town to build the road. The same agreement gave the town the land that is now the main municipal parking lot in Amagansett.

“This is a very terse decision that focuses on one fairly narrow issue, among multiple issues raised in close to 1,000 pages of documents submitted,” the Bistrians’ attorney, Robert Lynn, said this week. “These cases all end up in the Appellate Division. This case will move forward on two fronts—that is my expectation.”

Justice Pastoressa allowed that the lawsuit before him should continue to decide whether, if the access road connecting to Windmill Lane is not constructed, the property must be considered landlocked and without suitable access. If that is the case, the town could be compelled to create an access road.

Attorneys for the town have argued that the property is accessible from the municipal parking lot and therefore is not landlocked. The judge said that determining whether the parking lot’s travel lanes are legally suitable access must be explored further.

The lawsuit itself comes in the wake of a failed years-long effort to come to an agreement on the sale of the development rights on the property through the town’s Community Preservation Fund.

The Bistrians, who have said they had long hoped to sell the land for preservation rather than develop it, said the town had not been forthright in its negotiations and had made an offer of just $22 million for the land, which could be developed with more than a dozen houses under zoning. The family places the value at more than $30 million. With negotiations deadlocked, the Bistrians said they had no choice but to subdivide the land.

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