Lawsuit Stops Barn Building

Town board approval necessary for new construction

    Two attorneys active in town zoning affairs are squaring off against each other following an East Hampton Town Planning Board April 4 decision giving William Babinski, a Wainscott farmer, site plan approval to build a second barn. Litigation has begun even though the matter is headed for a public hearing before the town board at 7 p.m. next Thursday and even though the barn is 80 percent complete.   
  It was 84 days ago that Mr. Babinski first went before the planning board about  adding a 1,380-square-foot barn to his Beach Lane farm. The developmental rights on the property are owned jointly by the town and the Peconic Land Trust, making town board approval necessary for new construction.
    Tom and Shelly Gilbert, who own adjacent property, told the board at its hearing on March 7 that Mr. Babinski’s existing barn already obscured their view of the open fields and that a new one would obliterate it. They noted that they had contributed to the trust to help make the development rights purchase possible. Mr. Babinski said the new barn would be adjacent to the old one, and half its size.
    The Gilberts’ attorney, Jeff Bragman, has initiated a lawsuit against the town and its head building inspector, Tom Prieato, who subsequently rescinded the building permit for the barn and issued a stop-work order. Mr. Babinski’s attorney, David Eagan of McLaughlin and Eagan, commented only that Mr. Babinski is quite angry. The planning board voted 5 to 1 for approval, with its chairman, Reed Jones, voting in favor of the Gilberts.