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Hamptons Life

Oct 15, 2009 12:41 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Angry neighbor wins small victory, forces developer back to review

Oct 15, 2009 12:41 PM

Southampton Village resident Evelyn Konrad, who became a lawyer at the age of 76, is waging a legal war against the construction of what she considers to be overly large homes in the Rosko subdivision, located south of Montauk Highway. Recently, she scored a minor victory.

Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Denise F. Molia has ordered that builder Christopher Tufo, who owns a home at 81 Leo’s Lane in the subdivision, go through the architectural review process again because Mr. Tufo did not place a notice in the newspaper alerting the public about the hearing on his application.

In 2007, Mr. Tufo sought permission from the Village Architectural Review Board to partially demolish the home that already existed at 81 Leo’s Lane and build a larger home there. The new home, which is 4,250 square feet, is located on a half acre parcel and has five bedrooms and five and a half baths. It is currently listed for sale by the Corcoran real estate company for $3.25 million.

A search in the archives of The Southampton Press, however, turned up with a public notice from September 13, 2007 announcing a public hearing for Mr. Tufo’s application before the Village Architectural Review Board. And Mr. Tufo’s attorney, David Gilmartin Jr. of Southampton, emphasized the existence of that notice this week and said that Justice Molia made a mistake in her opinion.

“We are going to make a motion to reargue this,” Mr. Gilmartin said. “The basis of the judge’s decision is wrong, and if it’s not granted, we’ll appeal it. We’ll overturn this decision.”

But Ms. Konrad is hoping that eventually the court will order that the Leo’s Lane home be demolished. And she argued that all Rosko subdivision residents should receive letters about public hearings, not just the four immediate neighbors of the subject property, as is customary.

Ms. Konrad, who is known for her moxie as well as her letters to the editor to The Southampton Press, explained that she became an attorney at the age of 76 because she had been running a dot-com business that was going under and needed to figure out something to do “to stay off the street.” So, her son suggested she enroll in law school.

“But, I said, I hire and fire lawyers all the time, why the hell should I become one?” Ms. Konrad said, adding that her mother also told her she should become an attorney.

She entered Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in Manhattan at the age of 73 and graduated three years later with a juris doctorate and master of law degree. Ms. Konrad, who also has a Ph.D. in economics, passed the New York State bar examination, as well.

Now, she is using her legal expertise to work toward keeping her the Rosko subdivision a “nice place to live.”

Ms. Konrad explained that the neighborhood was created in the 1960s by Leo Rosko, the owner of the land who had planned the subdivision to have only small ranch-style homes in the middle of it, and small colonials on the edge.

She wrote in an e-mail this week that Mr. Tufo’s decision to not alert all residents of the 67-lot subdivision about the hearing is in violation of their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. She explained that everything that happens within the neighborhood has an impact on property taxes, open spaces, safety and the environment.

Ms. Konrad said she is determined to fight for the constitutional rights of the subdivision residents at the federal level, if necessary.

“These homes are against the common plan and scheme of the subdivision,” she said about the larger homes recently built around the corner from her own 2,100-square-foot colonial. She also owns an apartment in Manhattan.

The larger homes, such as those located at 37 Leo’s Lane and 55 Ann’s Lane, built within the subdivision are an eyesore, in Ms. Konrad’s opinion, and in violation of the original plan.

“And they’ve killed the neighborhood,” Ms. Konrad said. “Now we have a lot of renters coming in.

We used to have very middle-class neighbors here.”

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I agree with Ms Konrad regarding these eyesores. How do they ever get approval
I'm sure it's under the table through our dishonest politians. Four years ago, I wanted to add on to my deck, I'm on two acres in the woods. You guessed it, it was denied.
By nurse (53), sag harbor on Oct 15, 09 3:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
These large homes on small lots intrude greatly on neighbors privacy.
By interestedtaxpayer (21), southampton on Oct 15, 09 3:44 PM
2 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Oct 16, 09 11:16 AM
BRAVO,
You are hired Ms Konrad! My wife and i have been suffering with our neighbor who constructed a +/- 6,000sf home WITHOUT a building permit, and currently occupies. Permit first granted was for a three car garage addition no plumbing. What we got was a overbuilt and illigal residence that discharges storm water on our property. We have been working with the town for YEARS. Take a ride and see the house on the corner of Montauk and Brushy Neck Westhampton. It is amazing how Mr. Benincasa ...more
By bobba (39), southampton on Oct 18, 09 2:46 PM
2 members liked this comment
wondered what was going on with that huge house on the corner . . .
By quioguebirder (11), on Oct 20, 09 8:21 PM
Bobba
Privacy must a Biaatch. Sorry you have to live that way!! Shame on you two Mike's!!
By mousehouse1 (6), westhampton on Oct 23, 09 8:44 PM
Ms. Konrad is mean spirited. She has attacked the style of homes her neighbors have built, poked fun at their professions, makes vailed comments about their sexual orientation and hopes that people default on their mortgages and lose their homes. Drive by her home then drive by the homes she makes reference to and decided for yourself.
Ms. Kinrad complains that there are "renters" in the neighborhood. Her house is for rent every season but no takers!
Ms. Konrad should hire a lawyer ...more
By astaec (1), Southampton on Oct 26, 09 9:49 PM
astaec,
i have no idea of your plight. but i will say that your comments sound like you are angry about your 90 days over due over inflated upside down mortgage you took. let the sweet lady have her time to fight what all LOCALS feel about the over development and under oversight from town officials. Rent or no Rent princilple matters. have a nice day : )
By bobba (39), southampton on Oct 27, 09 9:36 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bobba (39), southampton on Oct 27, 09 9:37 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bobba (39), southampton on Oct 27, 09 9:37 PM
Hey who keeps on deleting BOBBA's comments , is he striking a nerve????
By mousehouse1 (6), westhampton on Oct 28, 09 9:22 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By sarahjones (2), Hamptons on May 7, 10 9:02 PM
What is innapropriate? A senior citizen that beomes a lawyer because she can't accept that the world around her is changing? Good luck, change will happen and not a thing you do will change that. Time and intelligence is against you and Southhampton will continue to grow as it has in the past. If you see what EK has actually filed - it's a mockery! She's a mockery of what a lawyer should be..and should be ashamed of herself. Do they have dementia testing at the bar exam as well? Shes making a mokery ...more
By sarahjones (2), Hamptons on May 7, 10 11:21 PM
1 member liked this comment