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May 26, 2009 6:20 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Baron removes part of his illegal wall from ancient dune

May 26, 2009 6:20 PM

Town officials said that by last week the billionaire Ron Baron had removed the majority of the 504-foot-long concrete retaining wall at his oceanfront property at 260 Further Lane, which he built illegally last fall. During the project, workers bulldozed rare and pristine double dunes.

The town charged Mr. Baron with eight zoning violations related to the construction of the wall.

In a remediation plan approved by town officials, Mr. Baron was required to cut enough of the wall so that what remained of the footings and bottom portion would be 18 inches below the finished grade of the sandy soil. The soil is being revegetated with native plants recommended by the Town Planning Department.

“The wall will be completely buried,” said Town Engineer Tom Talmage, who went to inspect the project last week.

The cost of the wall demolition and replanting is $90,000, according to information on the building permit for the project. Mr. Baron bought his Further Lane property for $103 million two and a half years ago.

On the adjoining property to the east, the retaining wall continues for 345 feet, spanning the width of the property, but Mr. Baron has opted to apply for a variance from the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals to allow that wall to remain. The wall is J-shaped, and works like a tub with plantings. It drastically changed the grade of the landscape, providing Mr. Baron with more land on which to build a guesthouse, and creating a steep drop on both the oceanside and easterly side of the property, as opposed to the gentle slope of the ancient dunes.

By following a remediation plan on a large portion of the retaining wall, Mr. Baron’s pre-preliminary application for a six-lot subdivision was allowed to proceed before the Planning Board.

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