Woodmere Club owners sue for $200 million over Coastal Conservation District


The owners of the Woodmere Club have filed a federal lawsuit against the Town of Hempstead and the villages of Lawrence and Woodsburgh over those municipalities creating a Coastal Conservation District that aims to inhibit the proposed development.

The district was created by an intermunicipal agreement between the town and the villages of Lawrence and Woodsburgh, with the aim of enhancing and maintain the nearby coastal area’s natural resources. Woodmere, where a majority of the development could occur, is a hamlet within the town’s jurisdiction.

The new zoning district would divide the 118-acre Woodmere Club property into three “subdistricts.” An 83.3-acre parcel, or 70 percent of the site, would be designated an open space/recreation subdistrict. There would also be a single-family residential sub district of 29.4 acres, or 24 percent of the property, and a 5.7-acre clubhouse/hospitality subdistrict accounting for 5 percent of the land.

The current proposed Willow View Estates development from property owners, Efrem Gerszberg and Robert Weiss, who purchased the Woodmere Club in 2017 for a little more than $9 million, calls for 284 single-family homes to be built on 114.5 acres of club property. 247 of those homes would be within Woodmere’s boundaries, 24 in Woodsburgh and 13 in Lawrence.

Gerszberg and Weiss are claiming that the zoning is “restrictive” and applies only to their property as there is “no other similarly situated property” in the town and the new zoning is called “Coastal Conservation District – Woodmere Club.”

“[The] defendants intentionally included onerous and burdensome conditions and restrictions in their new zone that will triple the cost to develop these few lots (thus threatening their economic viability and rendering any supposed ‘value’ left for plaintiffs illusory),” the suit claims.

This story will be expanded and updated.