EXCLUSIVE: Hamptons Resident On 1-Woman Crusade Against ‘McMansions’
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBS 2) — They are the homes that dreams are made of – 12-foot ceilings, eight bedrooms. Mega mansions are popping up all over the Hamptons.
But one resident said “not in my backyard,” so she’s taking her fight to federal court, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported exclusively on Friday.
The view from Evelyn Konrad’s backyard has been ruined, she claims, by a massive house built behind hers. The Southampton attorney is suing village officials, claiming they should not allow the building of so-called “McMansions.” She wants them “to be cut down. They’re not allowed to be there. Sure, chop them down,” Konrad said.
The term “McMansion” was coined more than a decade ago to describe the crop of super-sized new houses. Konrad claims Southampton village officials violated her rights by approving the larger homes on half-acre lots – 4,000-6,000 square-foot houses — that dwarf tiny capes.
“In architecture scale is a factor, and these houses are overscaled for the area they are in,” Konrad said.
“They are humongous,” resident Malcolm Braveman said.
Neighbors are taking sides, with some saying their quaint neighborhood has seen property values and, in turn, taxes go up, and there’s no room for privacy.
“You can hear the guy flushing the toilet next door,” Braveman said.
But the builder of one new home said he believes bigger is better.
“I think they’re definitely an improvement, because these new homes now will meet all the current codes for electrical, plumbing, some hurricane codes,” said Miles Greer of Long Island Craftmaster Corp.
Southampton village officials declined an on-camera interview but said Konrad is a chronic litigator who has cost the village more than $80,000 in legal fees, even though two of her lawsuits have been thrown out of courts.
They said the homes comply with village code, but Konrad claims those who enacted the code had conflicts of interest.
“They all profit from it. They partner with the spec builders,” Konrad said.
That’s a charge the village officials deny. Konrad’s federal lawsuit heads to court on May 8.
Three homeowners are also named in the lawsuit. Attorney Daniel Malone, who is representing one of them, said: “We believe that the court should dismiss the case, and that it will.”
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