Eric Bregman concentrates his practice on land use, zoning, real estate, condemnation, environmental and commercial law and related litigation. He also handles transactional real estate, planning and variance matters. Eric speaks on land use, real estate and related matters for the American Bar Association, the Practicing Law Institute, the New York State Bar Association and the New York Land Institute.
What are some of the most pressing issues you and your clients face?
The main issue facing any land use or real estate attorney in the Long Island region is navigating through the regulatory process, which can range from building permits, variances and site plans to zoning and planning issues and resolving disputes with neighbors. As we go through this process with the client, it’s vital to be as responsive as possible while keeping the client grounded in what’s possible for their property. Some clients want to do things they just can’t do or they don’t realize all the factors that are involved.
“Success is the resolution of a challenge in a way that’s satisfactory to the client.”
Can you share some of your more challenging or memorable cases?
One of the most memorable cases was what we call the “concrete plant case.” Someone constructed a concrete plant on an industrial-zoned property without the needed building permits or variances. We represented several of the neighbors, and it became a very intense fight. The matter involved the zoning board, the planning board and court injunctions. The person who constructed the concrete plant ended up dismantling the plant, but not before he served a weekend in jail on a contempt of court order.
Another matter involved representing the Town of East Hampton in a challenge to their approval of the town airport, which we won. And years ago, we won approval for the last major subdivision in Montauk, which involved everything you could imagine in terms of environmental and land use issues. It was a long process which involved determining the erosion of bluffs, the preservation of Indian artifacts and the containment of chemicals from an old Armed Forces base in the area.
You’re a resident of the East End. How do you give back to the community?
For a long time, I chaired the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee, which is in my hometown of East Hampton. Professionally, my principal way of giving back has been through teaching – I was a teacher at Cardozo Law School and Pace University for about 16 years – and also served as East Hampton Town Attorney, which is a public service position. I’ve also been very active in the local bar associations and give back through them.