Property Rights Update
Concerned that landowners were clearing too much natural vegetation from their properties, the East Hampton Town Board yesterday approved new regulations to limit the practice.
The new law sets a sliding scale detailing what percentage of the natural vegetation on different size properties can be cleared. For example, all vegetation can be cleared on a quarter-acre lot but no more than 25 percent of the vegetation can be removed on a half-acre or one-acre lot.
"Clearing" is defined to include the removal of not only plants, but also ground cover including "leaf litter and other organic detritus."
Supposedly, the board showed mercy with a last minute change to allow the removal of poison ivy. But homeowners still need a permit to clear affected portions of their land, even if it's to plant a garden.
Q. My yard is already cleared and has been for many years. Does this law affect me?
A: No, if your lot was cleared before the enactment of this legislation. Part of your proof for the pre-existence of the clearing will be the recent aerial photographs taken by the Town.