A prominent New York City real estate developer is suing Southampton Town and Sagaponack Village to allow housing for farmworkers on his Sagaponack farm.
The 20-acre preserved property on Sagg Main Street is owned by BLDG The Farm LLC, which is managed by developer Lloyd Goldman. The lawsuit was filed in state Supreme Court on June 25 and names all five Southampton Town Board members, the town planning board, the Sagaponack Village Board and the village building inspector as defendants. Goldman and his Water Mill attorney Michael Walsh could not be reached for comment.
Goldman is president of the investment firm BLDG Management, owns a major stake in the World Trade Center and is the nephew of the late Sol Goldman, who was once the city's largest landlord.
The lawsuit claims the town planning board has refused to process an application to turn an existing barn on the Sagaponack property into housing for farmworkers. BLDG The Farm is seeking to install a three-bedroom “as built” apartment inside the barn, which was constructed in 2002, nearly a decade after the property was preserved, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit argues that an agricultural easement granted to the property in 1993 allows for lodging for farmworkers. The complaint argues that agricultural housing is not a residential use and should be allowed on the property.
Southampton Town officials said that although the town is generally supportive of agricultural housing, it cannot allow it under the provisions in the easement.
“The easement ties our hands,” said town attorney James Burke.
Although the property is in Sagaponack Village, village officials have referred the matter to the town, the suit states. A May 23 letter from the town says the application should be processed by the village, according to the lawsuit.
The property was purchased by BLDG The Farm LLC in October 2014 for $4 million.
The town board approved a $20,000 contract on July 23 with Devitt Spellman Barrett LLP of Smithtown to defend the town in the matter.