Neighbors fight over 'revenge hedge'

A homeowner whose request to build a barn was denied because of neighbors' objections has planted a 10-foot hedge in retaliation, they say.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Oct 17, 2012 1:30PM

File photo of a hedge (© G Fletcher/Getty Images)In the Hamptons, people take hedges seriously.


Last year, the Southampton Village Board unanimously passed a law that included jail time for scofflaws who don’t trim their hedges by July 31 every year.


Now, a prominent resident is in trouble in nearby Bridgehampton over planting a "revenge hedge," which neighbors claim he planted to block their view after they objected to his plan to build a barn.


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Howard Lutnick, CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, a global financial firm that lost more than 600 employees in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, owns a 40-acre property in Bridgehampton. He applied for permission to build a barn, saying he wanted to plant an orchard and grapevines and start a personal winery, according to The New York Post. His neighbors objected, saying he really wanted to store his car collection.

"Please do not destroy what is left of this beautiful, protected land by allowing for the construction of some overdone monstrosity with questionable purpose,"’ one neighbor, Robert Rosenthal, beseeched town officials, according to The Post.

A proposal to build a smaller barn, or even two small barns, was also met with objections. Lutnick’s appeal of the rejection by the town of Southampton -- of which the Village of Southampton is a part -- is pending in court.

In the meantime, Lutnick planted a 10-foot-high privet hedge, which neighbors say cuts off their view of a field and an orchard. (No word on whether it is well-trimmed.)


The town agreed, saying that the hedge is illegal and has to come down.


"This is definitely the revenge hedge," neighbor Beate Moore told The Post. "He blocked everybody’s view."


Jul 27, 2013 10:11AM
love watching rich folks fight over getting their way!
Jul 27, 2013 9:35AM
This is exactly what's wrong with town councils and people on a little power trip. Personal property rights should always prevail. I wonder how many of these people have done the same to their property without so much as a whimper ? Be careful what you wish for folks.....
Jul 27, 2013 8:55AM
Grow up, folks.  I hope I never have to deal with the kids raised by these people.
Jul 27, 2013 7:49AM
Views aren't protected here in Seattle. Don't know how things work across the pond. Doesn't sound like a covenant was involved. I have a laurel hedge and they are  nothing but work. Will easily grow to 30 feet if you let them. If you have the time and money to keep them up they make a great privacy barrier. So much more attractive than a fence. It was more a mind your own business and stay out of my life hedge.
Jul 27, 2013 7:20AM

In my neighborhood a family moved in and planted trees around their perimeter (front and sides) and when established would privatized their yard.  Well they are growing and presenting a formidable fortress that now it is an invitation for anyone to hide behind and scare you plus it is dark and oppressive besides being so out of context for the neighborhood.  My thought is if you want isolation go live in the woods.....

Jul 27, 2013 3:45AM
Hopefully he used proceeds from his 'hedge' fund to build it  :-)
If you own a property and want privacy a hedge is a natural way to do it////These snobby people need to mind there own business
Jul 27, 2013 2:45AM
it is a heck-of-a-lot better than a huge billboard that changes what it is saying after every town council meeting
Jul 26, 2013 11:48PM
This is so much worse then HOAs.  At least with a HOA you know what you are getting into.

May 4, 2013 8:56AM

Owners property.  I say he does as he wishes.  Neighbors, Kiss off.

May 4, 2013 7:04AM

In the first place, this is not the land of unlimited personal freedom to do whatever you want where ever you want--even on your own property. There are pesky legal inconviences known as zoning laws and covenants. In the case of covenants they are often enacted by majority vote. In either case they are often in place when we move to a new location, and there isn't much we can do but try to challenge them in court after we've been found in a previous court to be in violation of them and fined.


Secondly, the article doesn't say that Mr. Lutnick surrounded his ENTIRE 40 acre property with a hedge. Nor, does it say that his neighbor's complain that Mr. Lutnick's hedge blocks their view of Mr. Lutnick's orchard and field. It only says it blocks their view of a field and an orchard.


Sometimes zoning laws and covenants work to our advantage, other times they don't. In this case, it appears that Mr. Lutnick was unfamiliar with the zoning and covenants of the area in which he wanted to build his barn. As for his hedge, maybe it will prove in court to satisfy local zoning and covenants. Maybe it won't. Until that time what difference does a minor disagreement between parties in Southhampton Village make to most of you who are so eager to be angered?


Read carefully and think. Oh, and learn to type too. Yeah, and maybe try to string three thoughts together in complete sentences within a coherent paragraph.

May 4, 2013 6:23AM
Maybe he should build a hedge barn....
May 4, 2013 5:09AM
My husband's mother in law lived on a large and beautiful piece of ocean view property that had been passed down to her.  There was a lot further up the hill purchased by a man many years later and wanted her to cut down 2 ancient, soaring Douglas Firs that were obstructing some of his view.  Of course, they were there when he purchased the lot.  She declined.  She returned from vacation to find them partially cut down and he denied any involvement.  I would have sued his sorry a ss for all he had.  She didn't want any trouble.  Can't believe she let him get away with this antisocial behavior. 
Apr 13, 2013 7:50AM
I lived next to a terrible neighbor for years! She made our lives a living h"""""""! Finally I had to get a lawyer to put the kybosh to her evil doings! And that settled it! Finally she got kicked out and now im living in heaven! No one can buy her house and I am soo glad! and I have no one living on the other side either! Now I can enjoy my life whats left of it! She was totally evil that one!!
Apr 13, 2013 4:05AM
The nosey neighbors are just jealous that they can't afford to make improvements to their own property so they try to make it unbearable for anyone else to do so.  Wonder if the view of the neighbors property is included in their mortgage payment?  SMH
Nov 5, 2012 1:54AM

I loved living in a condo.  I carried a .357 magnum and nobody bothered me.

Oct 28, 2012 5:27AM
I understand some building codes not allowing "blocking views" for safety reasons but one where a private citizen planted an orchard??? It is possible Lutnick is also not negotiating if his barn looked more like an extension of his house they may not object
Oct 27, 2012 10:17PM

A pissing contest, between people who have too much money.   I grew up in the Northeast (albeit, not a Silver Spoon area like the Hamptons),  and  I'd say that the typical Neighbors there are generally a bunch of ****s.   They want things to stay JUST the way they are,  and they sue and collaborate,  to block anyone from changing anything, no matter how intrusive. 


40 acres is a lot of land.   One or two barns is NOTHING,  as far as "ruining" the ambiance and the View for the neighbors.   Perhaps a certain location or two,  very close to a property line,  for instance,  might cause conflict,  but to deny him the right to build ANYTHING,  causes WARS like this, between neighbors.   Like I say,  they've just GOT TOO MUCH MONEY.   They need a good, hard JOB, to keep them busy and out of trouble.

Oct 27, 2012 9:58PM
This is crazy. If Lutnick wants to build a barn on his property there has to be some compelling reason for a permit to be denied. "Blocking a view" of his land by neighbors is not even close to reasonable! It's HIS land and he pays taxes on it. If the man wants privacy on HIS land and plants a hedge to keep his nosy neighbors from watching his activities, TOO BAD for them! Shame on Southampton administrators for allowing this nonsense to go this far.
Oct 27, 2012 9:57PM
Many years ago in a nearby town there was a guy who wanted to open a buisness on his property which was just within the city limits. But his neighbors objected to it at the city council meeting stating that the property was zoned rual and he was denied his permit. So he used his buisness start up cash to turn his property into a pig farm.
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