Two Sore Thumbs - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1686065

Two Sore Thumbs

I have lived in Southampton my entire life, as have many generations of my family. For the first time in my family’s recollection, we are now confronted by a developer who has completely ignored the town code and its officials in order to construct a Disney-like resort adjacent to Mecox Bay and Mud Creek in our residential neighborhood. This cannot be allowed!

The developer, Andrew Zaro, has submitted an application to Southampton Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals for his property, located at 186 Crescent Avenue in Water Mill, that seeks at least 12 variances for a nine-bedroom, 15-bathroom main house that exceeds 15,000 square feet, a second house that exceeds 2,000 square feet that he’s calling a “carriage house,” six swimming pools, a jacuzzi, a tennis court, and an 8-foot-high concrete retaining wall in his front yard — all crammed onto a 2.2-acre property bordered on two sides by water.

Incredibly, much of the work has been completed, because Mr. Zaro refused to apply for variances before construction, and despite the fact that the Building Department ordered him to stop work, and the Conservation Department has withdrawn its permit.

Before purchasing his Crescent Avenue property, Mr. Zaro built an oversized house at the end of Rose Hill Road. Once built, Mr. Zaro wanted a larger driveway to accommodate his overbuilt house — and thus began the annihilation of Rose Hill Road Park in 2006, which is presently the subject of litigation.

Thus far, nine of Mr. Zaro’s neighbors have filed formal objects with the ZBA because of the undesirable change to the character of their neighborhood and the adverse effects upon their properties. I don’t even want to imagine the noise, pollution, traffic and other degradation of our environment that this compound will wrought in this quiet neighborhood.

How in the world did this project go so awry?

It has been a longstanding two-step of developers that it is much easier to beg for forgiveness rather than to ask for permission. However, this presents the ZBA with an excellent opportunity not to grant forgiveness but instead to demonstrate that we, as a community, have a town code, rules, laws and procedures that are meant to be followed.

The ZBA makes far-reaching decisions that last for generations to come. Their decisions become our town’s lasting legacy. It is my sincere hope, and that of my neighbors, that the ZBA will enforce the town code and just say “no.”

I encourage everyone to witness this eyesore and see for themselves. There is a well-known expression: “It sticks out like a sore thumb.” Well, these oversized residences stick out like two giant sore thumbs, and worse. It literally pains me to look at it.

Johanna Halsey

Water Mill


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