Hearing held over cutting down historic trees in Amagansett

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A hearing was held Monday discussing whether old, historic trees can be cut down on a piece of land where development is not allowed.

The hearing involves the Peconic Land Trust, a well-known and well-respected land preservation organization, and an Amagansett man named Randy Lerner.

Lerner bought a 6-acre parcel of undeveloped land. Two days later, he started clearing the property of trees.

The Land Trust got a court order stopping the cutting of the trees, arguing that it violates terms of the sale.

But the property owner argues that the land is what's called an "agriculture preserve," and that he's got the right to clear trees to farm the property. Attorney Anthony Pasca says Lerner farms other properties in Amagansett and cleared the trees so he could farm this land.

"If you are a farmer and you have an agricultural reserve, you don't have to notify anybody," said Pasca. "So there's no permission required to go ahead and farm the land, there's no permission needed from the town. They want you to farm the land."

The Land Trust got an injunction to stop more trees from being cut down. They've filed a $100 million lawsuit against Lerner.

Lerner says he wants to plant crops, such as corn and potatoes, on the property.

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