File photo: Peter Blasl

Suffolk County has closed on two land acquisitions, preserving almost 140 acres of open space and farmland along the historic Sound Avenue corridor in Riverhead, County Legislator Al Krupski announced yesterday.

The county legislature approved the acquisitions on Sept. 9 and Oct. 6, authorizing the purchase of development rights on 49.6 acres of active farmland owned by Schmitt family on Sound Avenue for just over $2.7 million and the purchase for just under $8.4 million of 93 acres of land north of Sound Avenue adjacent to the 307-acre North Fork Preserve site, which the county bought for $17.9 million in 2011.

“Preserving farmland through the PDR program benefits the community and the economy in so many ways,” Krupski said. “It keeps the land on the tax rolls, prevents the potential development that can lead to higher property taxes, protects water quality and quantity, and adds to our ability for Suffolk County to produce food and other agricultural products well into the future.”

The second parcel stretches from Sound Avenue to the Long Island Sound, and consists of 20 acres of farmland, and roughly 73 acres of open space and habitat — a significant acquisition, according to Krupski. Suffolk County acquired both the farmland and the open space by purchasing the property directly.

“I was proud to sponsor the legislation that led to the acquisition of this property and gratified to see a project that my staff and I worked so hard on come to fruition,” Krupski said. “I want to thank the county executive and my colleagues in the Suffolk County Legislature for supporting this important purchase,” he said.

“I am grateful to both families for participating in the preservation of these significant properties,” Krupski said.

“Two things need to be in place to preserve land,” the legislator said, “a willing landowner and available funds. This is not always the case, and Suffolk County was fortunate that these two requirements aligned,” he said.

“We’re not doing appraisals till the fall of this year because we don’t have the money to purchase,” Krupski said. “We have a long list of parcels awaiting appraisals.”

When parcels of this importance become available and when landowners are willing to consider preservation, the county must be in a position to acquire them for the benefit of all of us and future generations, Krupski said.

“Suffolk County must continue its historic and very successful land preservation programs, one which is emulated across the nation and benefits all residents of Suffolk County,” Krupski said.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.