Farmer and Neighbor at Odds

    The Babinski farmland on Beach Lane in Wainscott has been worked by members of the same family since colonial times, and the development rights to the 20-acre parcel were sold to the Town of East Hampton and the Peconic Land Trust, but a proposal now before the East Hampton Town Planning Board to build a second barn there has met with opposition.
    In a meeting on March 7, the board considered Bill Babinski’s site plan application. The law allows another barn on the property. But to Tom and Shelly Gilbert, the neighbors, the location chosen for the barn is a burden.
    “We bought the property because we like the concept of overlooking fields," Mr. Gilbert said. He told the board the existing barn partially blocks their view and said the view would be obliterated if a second barn were built where proposed. The damage would be not only visual, he said, but financial since it would decrease the value of his property. He noted that he had been among those who contributed to the Peconic Land Trust for the purchase of the land’s development rights.
    “I’ve thought about this for years,” Mr. Babinski said. “My goal all along was to preserve the greatest amount of agricultural soil.” As for the location of the  new barn, he said it was in a pre-existing “envelope,” agreed to years ago by his father, the land trust, and the planning board. He further said that the required turning radius of his farm stand’s trailers, which are brought in every night, made the chosen location essential.
    “This is not a spiteful building. From a farming standpoint, this is where the building should be,” he said.
    The hearing was kept open for two weeks to allow exploration of an alternate site by a narrow 4-to-3 vote, with Robert Schaeffer, Diana Weir, and Ian Calder-Piedmonte dissenting. Mr. Calder-Piedmonte. a farmer himself, was of the opinion that Mr. Babinski was within his rights to build the barn where proposed and that the additional time was an unnecessary delay.
    It was reported at the meeting that the board was expected to grant final approval at a meeting last night to a site plan for a new bar off West Lake Drive in Montauk.
    The bar and a sand patio are to be operated by Lynn Calvo as the Hula Hut on part of Carl Darenberg’s Montauk Marine Basin property. But opposition to the plan was heard at the board’s meeting on Feb. 15. William Fleming, an attorney representing Robert and Marie Rando, owners of the Montauk Sportsman’s Dock, which is between the Marine Basin and Liars Saloon, a late-night party destination, told the board that the Hula Hut would add to the area’s excessive noise. Ms. Calvo and Mr. Darenberg promised that the Hula Hut would not become the site of late night revelry. 
    In other action on March 7, the board gave final approval for the expansion and renovation of Damark’s Deli on Three Mile Harbor Road and heard details on a preliminary application for a sweeping renovation of Gardiner’s Marina, near the head of the harbor.
    The plans call for enlarging the clubhouse, modifying the bulkhead, and dredging toxic creosote-laden mud there, keeping it on site.
    Another application in the preliminary stage was presented by East by Northeast, a restaurant on Fort Pond in Montauk, where an outdoor patio is planned. The board cited grading and traffic issues that needed to be resolved before the application could move toward approval.