The Peconic Land Trust recently said they would consider selling 14 acres on Highland Terrace in Bridgehampton if Southampton Town would buy the development rights with CPF money. This has created quite a brew ha ha amongst our local preservation community. The property in question was donated to the South Fork Land Foundation- which is now a subsidiary of the Peconic Land Trust back in the 1970’s. John v. Halsey, who founded the Peconic Land Trust and presides over the trust to date, has made this proposal with a vision for greater good.
John’s intention is to use the money from the sale of the 14 acres to purchase 60-100 acres of active farm land.
In concept, it seems a home run—swap 14 acres for up to 100 acres—but the mechanism to do so has divided the preservationists primarily because of the need for the funding of same via CPF money. This does raise an eyebrow.
Back in 1998 the Peconic Bay Regional Community Preservation Fund was born. CPF as we refer to it is funded by a 2% tax on buyers of real property, or real estate. The 5 eastern townships benefited by the protection of over 10,000 acres in 15 years while amassing $842,000,000.
That’s an incredible accomplishment that all of us have benefitted from.
Ironically, the public at times, confuses the Peconic Land Trust with the Peconic Bay Regional Community Preservation Fund. Buyers think they have given to the Peconic Land Trust when they shell out all that money at closing.
There are 4 primary parties directly responsible for protecting the beauty and heritage of the East End. The first are the municipalities. The local comprehensive up zonings, which occurred twice during my 3 decades in the industry, helped by creating open space regulations, water recharge districts, scenic easements along roadways, agricultural overlay districts and so much more, before the last of all subdividable property was improved. Secondly, the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund. Third The Peconic Land Trust and fourth the Nature Conservancy. Without the efforts of these entities the East End would look like every other over developed area. Thanks to them, any visitor clearly feels the farming heritage, the sea and the dark skies.
Personally, I see these entities as preserving in different ways. The Peconic Land Trust has done a remarkable job of enabling all of us to step back in time and enjoy life on the East End as settlers did generations ago. Have you been to Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton, or Quail Hill Farm in East Hampton or the Shellfisher on the North Fork… all remarkable and different, places you can go to reflect on where we came from.
The CPF money has protected corridors of farm land and taken special sites off the market forever so that we may enjoy nature at every turn.
The Nature Conservancy has taken their mission to places far beyond the immediate East End with an eye on preserving our natural resources.
And the municipalities… well their contribution is both seen and hidden in more places than you can imagine
Thank you all!
This is an ideal opportunity to take the time in a collaborative effort to become of one mind for the good of all the public.
There is a common thread and there is a resolution.