A tract of farmland on Wickham Avenue in Mattituck will be preserved by a development rights easement approved by the Southold Town Board this week.
The easement will be acquired on approximately 26 acres, subject to a final survey, at a cost of $65,000 per acre, an estimated total of $1.69 million.
The town’s land preservation committee “had no reservations about recommending this property” for preservation, said Southold land preservation coordinator Melissa Spiro. The farm, owned by Mill Lane One LLC, is surrounded by many preserved farms — more than 30 protected farms and more than 600 protected acres within a mile, Spiro said during a presentation at a public hearing Tuesday.
The property is listed on the town’s community preservation project plan as property that should be preserved due to its agricultural value and its value as an aquifer recharge area, Spiro said.
Councilman William Ruland expressed his personal support for the purchase during the hearing, as the owner of an adjacent farm.
“The Krupski family have been neighbors there for a long time — maybe 100 years,” Ruland said. It is a “key agricultural parcel” and “one of the last pieces in that block of land,” he said.
“It’s heartwarming to see that it will stay in agricultural production in perpetuity,” Ruland said, urging the board to support the purchase of the easement.
After the public hearing the board voted unanimously to approve it.
New comptroller to start July 31
In other action Tuesday, the town board hired a new comptroller: Kristie Hansen-Hightower.
Hansen-Hightower is currently the comptroller of the City of Long Beach in Nassau County. She lives in Ronkonkoma and earned an accounting degree at Dowling College in 2005, according to her profile on the LinkedIn website. Prior to joining the City of Long Beach in 2014, she was a deputy comptroller for the Town of North Hempstead and a supervisor at the accounting firm of Albrecht Viggiano Zureck and Co. in Hauppauge.
Hansen-Hightower, who will start the job on Monday, July 31, will be paid an annual salary of $140,000.
She fills the comptroller position left vacant in March by the retirement of John Cushman, who had held the post since 1987.
Part-time court officers appointed
The town board also appointed three part-time court officers: Francis Rogers, Shannon Merker and Ross Hamilton at an hourly rate of $30.40, each not to exceed 17.5 hours per week.
Town gets behind state historic preservation grant application
The board also approved a resolution in support of a grant application by the Oysterponds Historical Society to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for funding to help the historical society acquire and restore the Orient Methodist Church.
Representatives of the Oysterponds Historical Society requested the resolution of support Tuesday morning at the board’s work session.
Oysterponds Historical Society is applying for a $500,000 matching grant from the state historic preservation office, and is working with the Peconic Land Trust to obtain financing for the match, Bob Hanlon of the Orient Association said after the work session Tuesday. OHS will raise the funds to pay back the land trust over a three-year period.
“We’re confident we can raise the funds, but won’t be able to do it in the time frame required by the seller,” Hanlon said.
The historic church site is on the market for nearly $1 million.
The town will have no stewardship role in the acquisition or preservation effort.
Hearing set on North Fork Brewing Co. special event appeal
The board set a public hearing on the appeal by North Fork Brewing Company of the denial of a special event permit. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 1 at 7:31 p.m. at Southold Town Hall.
American Legion antique car show set for Aug. 27
The board granted permission to the American Legion Griswold-Terry-Glover Post 803 to hold its annual antique car show on August 27 at the Main Road, Southold post.