Matt Lauer's proposal to plant 42 trees on his Hamptons horse farm -- a plan opposed by a neighbor who says it will block his view of the "Today" host's bucolic property -- is scheduled for a July 23 Southampton Town Planning Board public hearing.
Jack Wasserman, who lives next to Lauer's 40-acre Bright Side Farm on Deerfield Road in Water Mill, has said Lauer's site-plan amendment seeking to plant dozens of trees violates restrictions attached to the property. Wasserman said the restrictions stipulate that there should be "no landscaping of the property which obscures the view of the subject parcels."
Wasserman said he plans to attend the 7 p.m. public hearing.
Lauer, in a telephone interview with Newsday on Monday, declined to comment on Wasserman's objection to his plan.
"I'm just going to let someone else handle this," Lauer said. "It's before the town [planning board] so I'm just going to let them decide."
Lauer is seeking to plant 42 mature trees ranging in height from 6 feet to 18 feet and 194 shrubs along the northern boundary of the farm property, according to the amendment application filed with the planning board.
Wasserman's attorney, Patrick Fife, said in a written statement Wednesday that when Wasserman and his wife, Jodi, purchased their property in 2013 it was because of the "legally protected, scenic and open views that it offered."
Fife, who is based in Riverhead, noted that in 2005 the town paid more than $3.5 million to acquire a development-rights easement from the former owner of Lauer's property to protect the scenic nature of the area. He said the trees Lauer wants to plant would be placed directly in front of Wasserman's property.
The tree plan "would be in direct violation of the development rights easement, the farm's site plan approval, and the covenant the Lauers agreed to record and did in fact record against their property in order to get their horse farm approved by the Town," Fife said.
"The proposed trees would obliterate the Wasserman's views of the Farm and would be in direct violation of the Grant of Development Rights Easement, the clear and unambiguous conditions imposed by the Planning Board, and the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions," Fife said in his statement.