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Group Opposes Giant Home by King of McMansions

What do commodities trader John Paulson, real estate tycoon Harrison LeFrak, CNN morning news show co-anchor Christopher Cuomo, and  President Dwight D. Eisenhower's granddaughter Anne Eisenhower have in common?

They share an opposition to the “Farrelization” of their neighborhood in historic Southampton Village, where Joe Farrell has proposed building a 5,531 square foot house on a 1.2 acre parcel on Hill Street according to an article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal.

Dubbed "King of McMansions," Farrell, who was profiled last summer in The New York Times is described as being “a local version of Donald Trump, without the history of debt, the lush hair or the insults.”

Mr. Paulson, Mr. LeFrak, Mr. Cuomo,  and Ms. Eisenhower are just a few of the 85 names who penned letters to a local village review board. The letter writers variously objected to "the size, scale, scope and ‘visual incompatibility’ of a speculative home” proposed for the vacant lot at 483 Hill Street—a neighborhood where " nearly a dozen nearby residences are more than a century old and roughly half or a third the size.”

Mr. Farrell does have his supporters too. Four of the five closest neighbors to 483 Hill Street wrote in support of the proposed new house.

As Mr. Farrell tells The Wall Street Journal: "People know when I build near their homes, I raise the value of everything around me, that's just a fact.”
Linda Goldsmith April 10, 2014 at 09:28 AM
The North Fork has the right idea-preserve, farm, and grape fields are abundant while McMansions have ruined the landscapes, dunes, blocking beaches, overcrowding what once was a quaint tourist town and village; a complete invasion with money backing it. Not to mention forcing the prices up for rents so that the trade parade crowds our only access roads day and night. Yet, people don't want affordable housing near them (NIMBYs). Why has this happened and continues to? Because they can... the Almighty $ and "property & zoning law rights" quoted ad nauseaum!
Katy Casey April 10, 2014 at 10:22 AM
To Mr. Farrell's comment in the WSJ I say this - the property values do increase when a high end home conveys to another owner, raising the comparable values in the vicinity. You are missing the point however with regard to unintended consequences and soft costs of your product. This is short sighted and narrow minded. In the long run it is those neighborhoods which have maintained their charm that will attract buyers and hold their value. I am not against new construction or modernization but please do it well so that you contribute to the community not defile it.
jeff payne April 10, 2014 at 05:39 PM
Unfortunately it's about 8 years too late. The village had an opportunity to vote in a board that would have restricted the size of new and renovated structures, more appropriate to lot size and neighborhood. And look what we got, eh? This ain't Farrell's fault. He's just doing what the law allows. And who gave us this law? You did.
Walter S April 11, 2014 at 05:52 PM
I just don't get it anymore. Southampton politicians tell us they are "Green", there are vacant houses on every street within the town, very little is selling yet new houses and developments are being built on every piece of wooded land. New construction should be halted throughout Long Island, Long Island is so overbuilt it's pathetic, traffic is a nightmare and yet these politicians are allowing this to happen only for greed and lining their pockets. Climate scientists are predicting we have 100 years left before a human extinction event occurs and it may even happen sooner. Politicians have to start making the hard choices now.
the owl April 12, 2014 at 12:11 PM
Farrell is the most rapacious builder on the East End. He has signs glorifying his name everywhere, has named Farrell Court off Deerfield Road after himself. He is gouging farmlands and fields and woodlands all over the East End. he must be trying to compensate for something really very small.....the houses are unimaginative, just large, practically pre-fabricated, all stuff bought in already assembled, staircases for example. Just nail em in and there ya go!!! There appears to be very little oversight of the bands of workers on site who just laugh and say they don't care they are making money and Farrell gives big fat paychecks for early completion of jobs so hurry up and finish is the motto. Wait 15 years until they start seeing the problems of this hasty ugly building boondoggle.

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