Peconic Land Trust and Southampton Town Board Partner
Purchase 33 Acres of Farmland from the
Estate of Charlotte Danilevsky in Water Mill, NY
The Peconic Land Trust completed the acquisition on July 10, 2014
and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the purchase of the protected farmland to qualified farmers on August 5, 2014.
All of us at the Peconic Land Trust extend our gratitude to the Southampton Town Board for their vision and expeditious action on this purchase of development rights (PDR) on the Danilevsky property. Through additional restrictions, the Town's PDR will ensure that this farmland is accessible to food production farmers at its true agricultural value in the future.
We would also like to extend our special thanks to you, our partners in conservation, for lending your voices on this important conservation project -- you spoke eloquently at the public hearing and through emails in support of the Danilevsky conservation initiative. THANK YOU!
Visit our Facebook page for photos from the press conference announcing this historic partnership!
Details on the Danilevsky Farmland Acquisition
In the Spring of 2014, the Peconic Land Trust went into contract to purchase two farmland parcels, a total of 33 acres, from the Estate of Charlotte Danilevsky contingent upon the simultaneous purchase of the development rights by Southampton Town at closing. Without the Town's involvement, we would have lost these irreplaceable, productive soils forever!
- Parcel 1: 13.9 acres at the end of Uncle Leo’s Lane (off Noyac Path) in Water Mill. This parcel is adjacent to 68 acres of protected farmland that is currently farmed. In November 2016, the Peconic Land Trust announced the resale of Parcel 1 to Jim and Jennifer Pike. Read more . . .
- Parcel 2: 19.2 acres off of Head of Pond Road, just southwest of Scuttlehole Road in Water Mill. This parcel is adjacent to 34 acres of protected farmland currently in equestrian use and 60 acres of protected farmland that is out of production. In January 2015, the Peconic Land Trust announced the resale of Parcel 2 to 3rd Generation farmer Hank Kraszewski, III. Read more . . .
With the Town's purchase the development rights, there are also additional restrictions (collectively referred to as Affirmative & Affordable Farming Covenants and Resale Restrictions) that preclude equestrian uses and the production of horticultural specialties that result in the removal of soil from the property. The Town's easement document also requires that 80% of the farmland be used for the production of food and that future sales of the property be restricted to qualified farmers at its true agricultural value. The Trust currently holds similar restrictions on about 60 acres of farmland in Sagaponack. This transaction is the first time that a municipality in New York State incorporates similar restrictions in its purchase of development rights, a milestone for Southampton Town.
The Trust is currently in a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to sell the protected farmland to qualified farmers, one of several goals in the Trust's Farms for the Future Initiative.
Affirmative & Affordable Farming Covenants and Resale Restrictions
In recent years, sales of protected farmland on Long Island’s South Fork to non-farmers have been as high as $200,000/acre, raising the average value of protected farmland to over $100,000/acre—values well beyond the reach of the vast majority of farmers who grow food. In addition, non-farmer sales at inflated values have dramatically increased the value of protected land of “land rich, cash poor” farmland owners for estate tax purposes. Through the use of additional restrictions that include Affirmative and Affordable Farming Covenants and Resale Restrictions, the value of the protected farmland can be lowered to its “agricultural value.” In the case of the Danilevsky property, the following restrictions are under consideration:
- future sales of the further restricted farmland are limited to a predetermined value based on comparable sales of similarly restricted farmland to farmers plus appreciation tied to changes in either the Area Median Income (AMI) or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the value of any agricultural improvements added to the property;
- the Town is required to approve all future sales to ensure that the restricted farmland is purchased by a qualified farmer;
- the Trust, or a similar organization, will be the purchaser of last resort if the owner is unable to find a farmer to purchase the restricted farmland. When purchased under these circumstances, the protected farmland will be offered for sale to qualified farmers through a transparent selection process including a “request for proposals” and lottery, if necessary;
- 80 percent of the farmland must be used for the production of food.
Other restrictions include:
- prohibition on equestrian use of the property;
- prohibition on horticultural specialties that result in the removal of soil from the property;
- if the farmland is fallow for one year, it must be kept available for agricultural use and managed subject to a Natural Resource Conservation Plan;
- if the farmland is fallow for 2.5 years, the Town has the right to lease it to another farmer to ensure that it remains in agricultural production.