AREA NEWSThe Examiner

Court Deals Trump Seven Springs Setback in No. Castle

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Real estate mogul Donald Trump suffered a setback in attempts to develop property in North Castle

Real estate mogul Donald Trump has been dealt a major blow in his attempts to develop the North Castle portion of the Seven Springs property.

Last month the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision that will now block Trump from gaining an easement over Oregon Road to have access to the site. Without that easement, the likelihood of gaining entry to the 80-acre North Castle portion of the 213-acre property to develop the land becomes remote.

Trump, whose representatives last year had talked of building nine mansions on the North Castle side of the property after he was victorious in state Supreme Court, has been embroiled in years of litigation with the Nature Conservancy and two homeowners, the parties that have fought to block Trump from using Oregon Road.

Last week, Rick Werwaiss, the Nature Conservancy’s executive director for the Eastern New York chapter, issued a one-paragraph statement lauding the determination by the Appellate Division’s Second Department, which concluded that Trump did not have a right to the easement over the organization’s land.

“The Appellate Division’s unanimous decision confirms the Conservancy’s position–that Seven Springs does not have an easement over Oregon Road, and vindicates its determination to fight for the protection of the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Preserve,” the statement read in part.

Before 1973, the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation owned both Seven Springs and the Conservancy’s acreage. The Meyers, former publishers of The Washington Post, established the foundation, which transferred the Seven Springs land to Yale University and the remainder of the acreage to the Nature Conservancy. Trump later bought the Seven Springs property.

North Castle Director of Planning Adam Kaufman said without access to the property via Oregon Road, Trump would need to go through either Bedford or New Castle. In late 2010, however, Trump agreed to relinquish access to the North Castle land through Bedford in exchange for gaining the approvals to build seven mansions on the 103 acres in Bedford.

The only other possibility is to go through the New Castle side, Kaufman said.

However, a source familiar with the situation said it is also unlikely New Castle would agree to that.

Calls placed to New Castle officials were not returned.

Trump’s only legal alternative is to appeal the decision but since the appellate decision was unanimous it is unlikely the case would be heard by the Court of Appeals.

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