A 50-foot strip of land, running from Georgica Bay to the Atlantic Ocean, is at the center of a legal battle that East Hampton Village has entered with the owners of two properties.
According to village attorney Linda Riley, Katherine J. Rayner, the owner of one property, along with the owners of a second property in which she also has an interest, the Pond House Inc. and Darji Properties II LLC., have filed an article 78 to repeal an October decision by the Village Zoning Board of Appeals.
The decision gave the property owners permission to erect a second story and dig out part of a cellar, but only if they removed structures—a pool heater, fencing and pillars—they had placed on an adjacent, village-owned property.
In addition, the property owners have brought a second lawsuit against the village, seeking title to portions of the property where the structures exist. Ms. Riley said they are claiming ownership through “adverse possession,” a way of gaining legal title to the property by claiming they’ve continuously used it as their own.
In response, the village has hired Farrell Fritz to defend the ZBA’s determination and its title to the strip of land.
“We want a decision from the judge that we have a good title and notwithstanding that they have stuff on the property, and furthermore we’re looking for injunctive relief from the court, meaning the court would tell them to move their structures back on their property,” Ms. Riley said.
The village bought the strip of land from the Keck family to maintain public access from Georgica Bay to the beach. “It’s not very big but obviously any public strip of land that runs from Georgica Bay to the Atlantic Ocean is something we don’t want to give away,” she said.