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Mar 10, 2009 5:45 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Baron to face charges in town court

Mar 10, 2009 5:45 PM

East Hampton resident Ron Baron is expected to appear in Town Justice Court on Monday, March 16, to answer to the charges that he razed a rare secondary dune and built an 800-foot concrete wall without the necessary permits in front of his oceanfront property on Further Lane.

At his last arraignment date, on February 9, Mr. Baron did not make an appearance; instead, he sent Seth Davis, a representative of the two trusts, 260A LLC and 260BC LLC, that own the property.

Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato said that since the town is charging both the person who owns the property and the person in control of the property, Mr. Baron would be required to appear in court.

“We actually believe him to be the beneficiary of any trusts or LLCs that exist,” Ms. Scarlato said.

East Hampton Town Justice Catherine Cahill also said Mr. Baron would be required to appear at the arraignment.

Mr. Baron faces four charges for each of his two adjacent properties: failure to obtain a building permit, a certificate of occupancy, a natural resources special permit for the removal of beach vegetation and the approval of the town’s Architectural Review Board.

Brian Frank, an environmental analyst with the Town Planning Department, said that the 
dunes across which Mr. Baron built the wall are special as “there 
are very few places on the 
Atlantic seaboard where you can 
go from the beach 100 feet 
inward, and still be on a dune.” Called a secondary dune, the area is characterized by ground-hugging heath species as well as spadefoot toads and eastern hognosed snakes.

As of now, Mr. Baron’s lawyers said he will plead not guilty to the charges, Ms. Scarlato said.

Mr. Baron currently has a six-lot subdivision application pending with the Planning Board. If he has not removed the wall by April 23, 90 days from the time the town originally mailed him the charges, his application will be rejected.

Ms. Scarlato said that there might be portions of the wall that did not require a natural resources special permit. Usually, she said, a landowner would ask the town for a lot inspection before building any sort of major wall. “But it’s hard for us now to go back and do a lot inspection for something that is gone, although we have aerials and documents that show the beach vegetation was there. The aerials are very telling,” Ms. Scarlato said.

Ms. Scarlato said that if Mr. Baron does not remove the wall, he will continue to have to appear in court and he could be fined on a daily basis until it is removed. “But whether he cares that it’s $8,000 a day or not, I don’t know,” Ms. Scarlato said. “To the normal person that would be enough incentive to fix it.”

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