The Peconic Land Trust closed in late June on a 15-acre farm field along the scenic byway of New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck, with the help of $650,000 in donations from the community, protecting the property from development.

The Land Trust is now the interim owner of the property and Southold Town has purchased the development rights on all but two acres of the property, with the goal of selling the land to a buyer who will cultivate it. A farmstead could be built on the portion of the property with its development rights intact.

Its former owners, the Koehler Family Partnership, had a seven-lot residential subdivision application nearly complete before the Southold Town Planning Board when a group of about 15 neighbors got the Peconic Land Trust involved in the spring of 2021, hoping to preserve its agricultural use into the future.

The property had a $3 million asking price when the Koehler family first put it on the market, and PLT Project Manager Holly Sanford has said they had two higher offers when they accepted the Land Trust’s offer, which will be revealed after the closing.

“We are so grateful to the Koehler family for choosing to collaborate with us, the Town, and YOU, the community, to achieve a conservation outcome,” said the Land Trust in announcing the that the land transfer was complete. “This land will be conserved forever, because so many people cared and joined together in community-focused spirit.”

“The Trust chose to come forward as the temporary owner of this property so that we would not lose the land to development,” they added. “However, the Trust plans to be an interim owner only, with the goal of selling the protected property to a conservation buyer who will potentially cultivate the land.”

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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