September 13, 2006

Preserving a Preserve?

The Deborah Light Preserve in Amagansett is not as preserved as folks might think. Back in the 1990s the community celebrated when Light donated close to 200 acres of land off Town Lane, including Quail Hill Farm, to the Peconic Land Trust.

What didn't make headlines was that fact that when the land was conveyed PLT retained the right to develop a portion of the property.

According to Kathy Kennedy, an education and outreach coordinator for PLT, although the acreage was never subdivided, three building sites were included in the gift. Now, the Land Trust is looking to sell the development rights to Suffolk County, she said. Kennedy wouldn't confirm a reported price of $6 million, since the deal has not been finalized.

Next Tuesday, the county legislature is expected to consider a resolution to acquire the developments rights as a "bargain sale." Normally, such a purchase would be presented in an introductory resolution and then reviewed in committee. However, the county has to act by the end of the month so federal acquisition funds may be leveraged to make the buy. So, it is anticipated that a Certificate of Necessity will be offered.

Kennedy assured the Land Trust doesn't want to develop the property. The money raised will go toward the group's continuing preservation efforts.

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