The Hamptons is a battleground of epic proportions: the world’s rich fight to develop the highly prized land of the East End while planning boards raise infrastructural and environmental concerns, creating bureaucratic stalemates. David Zwirner, owner of the mega-gallery of the same name, has found himself caught in the throes of this very problem as he attempts to set up an artist’s residency next to his home in Montauk.
As documented in the East Hampton Star, the Planning Department has some issues with the project. Zwirner hoped to build some 17 cottages on the shore of Lake Montauk, to be known as the Bridgeford Cottages, that he would offer to artists at a subsidized cost. He is aiming to construct those cottages within the next two years.
As the structures abut Zwirner’s estate, the Planning Department was initially worried about zoning issues. The cottages were to be zoned as commercial space, but if invited artists crossed over into the residential zoning of the Zwirner home, perhaps to use the pool, things could get awfully muddled, at least by zoning standards.
It now seems that the issue is not so much who uses the pool but rather the environmental health of the lake, which already suffers from pollution. The Planning Department would like to see a deteriorating existing bulkhead either completely removed, allowing the natural shoreline to emerge, or rebuilt, so the rotting debris doesn’t continue to filter into the lake.
The Zwirners, it would seem, prefer that it remain in its current, slightly dilapidated condition.
“Not doing anything about the structures along the shoreline is a big deal to me,” said board member Louis Cortese in a planning meeting that a Star reporter attended. “I wouldn’t recommend approval unless that item is taken care of.”