Good Evening
Good Evening
Long IslandSuffolk

Decision on Matt Lauer’s Water Mill horse farm coming soon

Matt Lauer at The Grand Prix finals of

Matt Lauer at The Grand Prix finals of the 40th annual Hampton Classic horse show in Bridgehampton on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015. Credit: John Roca

The Southampton Town planning board is expected to issue a decision by Thursday on “Today” show host Matt Lauer’s controversial proposal to plant dozens of trees and shrubs at his Water Mill horse farm.

Lauer submitted a proposal during the summer to plant 42 trees and dozens of shrubs on his 40-acre Bright Side Farm to prevent the horses from being “spooked” by activities and noise around the swimming pool of his neighbors, Jack and Jodi Wasserman.

The Wassermans oppose the plan, saying trees would block their view of Lauer’s “bucolic” farm and violate restrictions on the property.

Lauer was to submit a revised plan last week. In October, he asked for an extension of an earlier deadline that had been set for November.

Both sides in the dispute have declined to comment while the board makes a decision.

Town planner Claire Vail said Lauer’s new proposal is expected to “address a lot of concerns” expressed by the Wassermans.

In testimony earlier this year before the board, Lauer said riders and horses are at risk because part of the farm’s horse trail is near the pool and backyard of the Wassermans’ house on Farrell Court, and that noise from people using that pool can startle horses on the trail.

Lauer’s original plan called for 42 trees ranging from 6 feet to 18 feet tall, and 194 shrubs to be planted along the north boundary of his property, with the majority being placed along the perimeter of the Wassermans’ property.

In a July interview, Wasserman’s attorney, Patrick Fife of Riverhead, said his clients’ pool and backyard were there before the Lauers built their horse farm and trail, so Lauer created his own problem.

Fife said the planting of large trees would violate the site plan and property restrictions, which Fife said prohibit farm landscaping that would obstruct the Wasserman’s “open views.”

Latest Long Island News