Town purchases 16 acres of wetlands

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Southampton Town has acquired 16 acres of wetlands in Speonk and Remsenburg, between Dock Road and Laila Lane, a property that was at one time a working duck farm and is now considered important habitat for shorebirds.

The town used $6 million from the Community Preservation Fund to purchase the property from Martin Melzer.

The Town Board authorized the purchase, despite the economic downturn that has required cutbacks and belt-tightening in town government. The board in May unanimously voted to allocate the $6 million from the CPF for the purchase. The CPF is generated by a 2-percent transfer tax on real estate purchases.

Next to the Eastport Marina and with significant frontage on the East River and Seatuck Cove, the 16-acre tract offers expansive views and has the potential for future passive and recreational activities such as kayaking, according to Town Supervisor Linda Kabot.

The Melzer property is part of the town’s Community Preservation Project Plan, which identifies target areas and parcels that can be acquired for parks, recreation, open spaces and conservation.

The parcel also falls within the town’s Wetland Preservation Target Area, which, Ms. Kabot said, represents “an indispensable and fragile natural resource that is immensely important to both the environmental and economic health of the town.”

Brian Bossetta

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