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Mar 4, 2019 10:41 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Residents File Lawsuit Against Town, Property Owner Regarding Rose Hill Road Deal

A lawsuit was filed against the Southampton Town Trustees regarding a Trustee-owned parcel on Rose Hill Road. GREG WEHNER
Mar 4, 2019 5:10 PM

Opponents of a deal struck by the Southampton Town Trustees to allow a homeowner to take over a portion of Trustee-owned property in exchange for his agreement to maintain the entire lot have filed a lawsuit against both parties, along with the Town of Southampton and the Town Board.

The lawsuit seeks a decision from the courts on whether the 0.61-acre parcel, located at 475 Rose Hill Road, is considered parkland. If the land is determined to be a park, the deal between the Trustees and the homeowner at 493 Rose Hill Road, Randy Frankel, could be voided.

It could also mean that a land transaction between the Town of Southampton and the Trustees on December 11, 2017, that put the property under Trustee control was not legal.

The argument, according to former Town Trustee Fred Havemeyer—who filed the lawsuit, along with Water Mill resident Johanna Halsey and Southampton Village resident Raymond Geminski—is that all of the deals resulted in unlawful alienation of parkland, which, ultimately, would require an act from the State Legislature to be approved.

“We maintain … that the Rose Hill Road park has been used as a park for more than 75 years,” Mr. Havemeyer said on Friday. “The bottom line is, it’s a park that was cherished by the community, and it has been turned into something completely opposite of what it had been.”

Shortly after taking the property over from the town, the Trustees voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with Mr. Frankel, who said he would maintain the property by plowing the snow, keeping up with the landscaping and dredging sand that builds up near the boat ramp at least twice a year.

Once the deal was finalized, the Trustees were met with public outcry from people like Mr. Havemeyer, Mr. Geminski and Ms. Halsey, who said the deal should have never been made.

All three maintain the contract is not legal, and are now asking the courts to step in and settle this once and for all.

In the suit, Mr. Havemeyer, Mr. Geminiski and Ms. Halsey are demanding the improvements made to the property by Mr. Frankel—which include creating a crushed clamshell-covered driveway and building a portion of his circular driveway on the Trustee-owned land—be returned to its prior condition.

“To me and a large amount of the population, it’s a very serious issue because we are on the cusp of overdevelopment in this town, and there just aren’t properties like this available,” Mr. Havemeyer said. “Losing something like this is a huge backward step for the people of Southampton Town. There just aren’t many properties like this in the whole town. Each one is a precious, precious item.”

Martha Reichert, an assistant town attorney who represents the Trustees, confirmed that the lawsuit had been filed, but declined to comment on the matter.

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Good vs. evil.
By themarlinspike (477), southampton on Mar 4, 19 7:43 PM
The "Rose Hill Caper" can be one of two scenarios ...
Either the homeowner, Randy Frankel, outsmarted the Republican majority of the Trustees, AKA The Rose Hill Mob" or the more sinister scenario of "Follow The Money". In either case, it is time to vote the Republican Trustees out of office in November.
By SpeedRacer (152), Southampton on Mar 5, 19 8:12 PM
2 members liked this comment
The "Rose Hill Mob" is now one less with the departure of Bruce Stafford. The Republican / Conservative Party, In a true Trump / Zeldin move, just threw him under the bus. Mr. Stafford had a more colorful way of putting this ... see Southampton Press article "Southampton GOP Committee Makes Changes ...".
By SpeedRacer (152), Southampton on Mar 6, 19 12:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Water not improved, more attorney fees incurred. Solid.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Mar 6, 19 5:08 PM
I thought the trustees were for protecting open space. Glad there's a lawsuit.
By rvs (105), sag harbor on Mar 6, 19 9:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Bruce seemingly facilitated the transfer, Mecox is , for a short time at least thank God , his "area" of responsibility and he was the point man during the discussions. Agreed that we should follow the money.
By bigfresh (4542), north sea on Mar 6, 19 9:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
This was a horrific decision on all Trustees They all voted..
This group is NOT looking out for the FREEHOLDERS
By Local247 (36), Southampton on Mar 7, 19 10:58 AM
For as long as I can remember as a kid As soon as it would start getting warm outside I’d go to my Grandparents house on Halsey Ln and immediately walk down to “the circle”. I had some of the best adventures down there as a child crabbing, kyacking, or just exploring at low tide. THIS is why we should have someone like Thea Fry as a Trustee. Someone who genuinely cares about this community, it’s history, it’s environment, and it’s locals. Personally I spend a ...more
By Hsach14 (1), Water mill on Mar 7, 19 12:03 PM
2 members liked this comment
The Trustees ALL voted in favor of this giveaway. They should all be replaced in the next election and Thea Dombrowski-Fry has my vote. The Trustees’ responsibility is to the Freeholders and they failed miserably with Rose Hill Road. This can never happen again, time to clean house and VOTE.
By rv (36), watermill on Mar 7, 19 1:13 PM
Is there something wrong with the drinking water on Rose Hill Rd?

Isn't that where Mr. Zaro lived -- maybe the same waterfront house? -- and his employee allegedly mowed down Sister Jackie and left her to die on the side of the road? Then escaped to South America . . . 2012 was that? Was he the real driver?

The more things change . . . .

Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle !!!

By Nero (290), Sag Harbor on Mar 7, 19 3:06 PM
I’m happy to see Thea Fry running for town trustee. She is a passionate and tireless advocate for preserving our east end community.
By nkb (1), Bridgehampton on Mar 7, 19 7:54 PM
Fred has a handle on things, my vote is for Fred to run. Time to get this board running on the right track. Too much flip flopping...
By knitter (1854), Southampton on Mar 18, 19 3:00 PM
Hot Tubs,SALE, Southampton Village, SouthamptonFest weekend