By Marissa Maier
When Robert Rust was younger, he would often visit his aunt, Lorraine Anderson, at her 55-acre North Haven estate. Rust recalls helping Anderson rig up her fishing boat to a dock in a little lagoon on the property. He spent time in the cozy two-story barn, which was built by Charles Jundt, the previous owner and noted perfumer who created “Charles of the Ritz” perfume.Â Â
Anderson, and her husband Olen, purchased the property — located at 400 Ferry Road — in the early 1960s. They built a modest ranch house overlooking the water to accompany the two other houses, barn and two-car standing garage also on the property, which Jundt had built in the 1890s.
“It was the only place she wanted to live. She loved that house,” said Rust of his aunt. The Andersons’ property was sprawling and unique with its inlet, pond, orchard and 3,000 feet of shoreline.
As the Andersons grew older, however, it became difficult to maintain the estate. Olen was debilitated by diabetes. While Lorraine cared for her husband, who lost much of his sight and a few of his toes, the structures on the compound fell into disrepair. After Olen passed away in the 1980s, Lorraine lived alone on the property until her death in 2000.
Robert Rust was the sole heir to the Anderson estate because the Andersons were childless. When he inherited the estate, Rust began extensive repairs of the structures on the property. Many of the buildings were uninhabitable and appeared abandoned to passersby.
Originally, Rust intended to keep the property for his own personal use. When his property taxes increased to nearly $180,000 by 2007, Rust could no longer afford to hold onto the estate. He had earned a decent living as an assistant U.S. attorney in Miami, but by the time he inherited the property he was retired and in his 70s.
So in January 2007, Rust put the estate on the market. The property is currently listed at $75 million with Gary DePersia of Corcoran.
Rust, however, hopes to divide the property into a series of lots and sell them. Along with Joseph Lombardi of the Raynor Group and lawyer William Esseks, Rust visited the North Haven Planning Board on Monday, January 26, to present preliminary plans for the subdivision.
Because the property is over 15 acres and the plans include a cluster subdivision, Rust is required to conserve nearly 50 percent of the estate. During the meeting, Lombardi showed three different plans.
The map for the first plan was “a standard plat used to determine the yield, or how many lots can fit on the property,” said Lombardi. This plan featured 18 lots, and a park site, but didn’t set aside land for the required open-space use. Lombardi said this plan was created merely to determine yield.
The second plan showed the full possible density usage for a residential development. This plan included two parcels of open land that totaled 50 percent of the property and 18 lots, although these lots would be smaller than village zoning requires. If the board signed off on this plan, Rust would need an exemption for these smaller units.
Rust, however, is most fond of the third option, which members of the board called “unique.” This is a six-lot plan and 50 percent of the property would be conserved through easements. The lots would be sold in pairs, meaning a buyer would be legally required to buy two lots. Lombardi said the owner could build the main house on one lot and a guesthouse on the other. A certain area of conservation easements would be included in each lot.
“We haven’t made any formal applications to the village yet. We are trying to show the board some of our thoughts and also what Mr. Rust is interested in,” said Lombardi.
At the meeting, the planning consultant for the village, Scott Dobriner, wondered if the 50 percent of conserved land automatically included the wetlands and marshes found on the property, or if these items had to be subtracted from the total acreage before a 50 percent figure was calculated.
Dobriner said he would look into this before the property comes up for discussion again at the meeting next month.Â Â
Above: An aerial photo of the Anderson Property.Â