November 15, 2006

Girl Scout Land Up For Grabs

The end of an era might signal the dawn of a new day in Southampton Town.

As The Independent went to press, the Southampton Town Board was expected to hold a public hearing yesterday to consider the acquisition of lands owned by the Nassau Council of Girl Scouts in Hampton Bays.

On the block is a 65-acre parcel of land located on Red Creek Road and Squires West Landing Road in Hampton Bays.

The property is located in the Red Creek Park Target Preservation Area, a section of Hampton Bays that has been a town priority for acquisition since the 1986-1987 Open Space and Greenbelt Acquisition Plan. Because the town adopted the Town of Southampton Community Preservation Project Plan, the site would be purchased utilizing CPF funds with the goal of preserving the property for use as a public beach.

Situated in the Squires Pond Target Preservation area, the parcel features Squires Pond, a pristine estuary containing state-designated tidal wetlands and beach and dune habitats, as well as fronts Great Peconic Bay. Rare and endangered species found in the area include the piping plover and the least tern, and the parcel is considered to be a prime educational site.

In addition, the property is located in the Trails Target Preservation Area and is considered a critical linkage for the Paumanok Path, a 100-mile trail system extending from Rocky Point in the Town of Brookhaven through Southampton to Montauk Point. Securing the public trails has been considered a top priority in Southampton's 1996 Comprehensive Plan Update.

The purchase of the parkland, said Councilman Chris Nuzzi, would be a boon to area residents. "The parcel is located right on the bluffs, overlooking the bay," he said. Nuzzi added that a purchase by the town would secure the land for passive recreational use by the public, allowing for beach access. It would also protect it from commercial development.

"This is one of the last opportunities we're going to get in that area," said Nuzzi. "It's a beautiful piece."

Calls to the Nassau Council of Girl Scouts were not returned by press time.

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