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Sep 12, 2012 9:09 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor Legs To Stand Pending Litigation

Sep 12, 2012 11:33 AM

A lawsuit challenging a Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals order for the removal of the oft-debated Larry Rivers “Legs” statue alongside a Sag Harbor house will keep the 16-foot-tall fiberglass pair of female legs standing for an indefinite amount of time, even though Saturday marks its deadline for removal.

“Typically, you maintain the status quo until the litigation is over,” Sag Harbor Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr., who also serves as a New York State Assemblyman, explained of an Article 78 lawsuit filed this summer by the owners of “Legs” to keep the statue up. The lights used to illuminate “Legs” at night must be shut off, however, Mr. Thiele noted.

The ZBA in April ruled the “Legs” illegal, upholding a previous determination by the village building inspector that the statue was an accessory structure and therefore required a building permit. The ZBA denied an application for three variances that would have legalized the “Legs” under the village zoning code and ordered that the statue come down by September 15.

Mr. Thiele said the village has responded to a June lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court by Sag Harbor-based attorney Stephen Grossman, who is representing Janet Lehr and Ruth Vered—the latter of whom popularly goes by only her surname—in their quest to keep “Legs” up on the Henry Street side of their corner-lot home fronting Madison Street.

Mr. Grossman had little to say about the case last week, other that there were some negotiations going on.

The suit seeks the annulment of determination that “Legs” is a structure and the overturning of the ZBA’s April decision denying the requested variances, the biggest of which would have allowed the “Legs” to stand just 1 foot from the property line, rather than the required 35 feet.

Next, a briefing schedule must now be agreed to for legal briefs—each party getting a chance to present what they think the law is to the court, Mr. Thiele said. He said he expects all the paperwork to be presented by the end of 2012, but noted there is “no time line that binds judges as to when they have to make a decision.”

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