The billionaire owner of the nation's priciest land parcel has suspended construction work on his beachfront Further Lane property after East Hampton Town last week investigated claims an environmentally protected sand dune had been bulldozed and hauled away.
East Hampton says billionaire landowner bulldozed dune
Lawyers for financier Ronald Baron, who owns the property through a trust, said he agreed to suspend work as a courtesy to the town, even though nearly all of the excavation work is done, and a concrete retaining wall lies in place of the dune. The 40-acre waterfront parcel was sold last year to Baron, a Forbes-listed billionaire, for $103 million, a U.S. record.
On Friday, an attorney for Baron, Leonard Ackerman of East Hampton, disputed the notion that the dune was environmentally protected, calling it "a pile of dirt."
But Larry Penny, director of natural resources for East Hampton Town, begged to differ. He said the 100-yard-long, 15-foot-high dune was in fact a 3,000-year-old "fossil dune," which requires a natural resources special permit to change in any way.