Town To Buy Historic Gardiner Property In East Hampton Village

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The East Hampton Town Board on Thursday passed a resolution to purchase the Gardiner property on James Lane in East Hampton for $9.6 million and add the land to the town’s 2014 land management and stewardship plan.

Although the property is technically in East Hampton Village, it is ultimately up to the town to determine how Community Preservation Funds will be used, said Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. in a previous interview. However, he added, the property would be under the village’s control.

The 3.67-acre property, now owned by Lion Gardiner’s descendant Olney Mairs Gardiner, sits adjacent to the Village Green and the 1804 Gardiner Windmill, as well as the 18th-century “mill cottage,” and has remained in the Gardiner family since they settled in East Hampton in the 1600s. Lion Gardiner was one of the principal founders of East Hampton Town.

The parcel backs up onto a 1.3-acre agricultural reserve owned by the village, said East Hampton Village’s Historic Preservation Adviser Robert Hefner during the public hearing, which also took place on Thursday evening.

“This would be a total of 5 acres of open space,” he said, comparing the property to that at the Mulford Farm, and adding that the village was able to acquire 3 of the 10 acres of the original farm. “Gardiner would be 5 acres of preserved open space, 2 acres larger than Mulford,” he said.

The contract was still in the works, East Hampton Town’s land acquisition and management director, Scott Wilson, said on Tuesday, adding that it should be signed by the end of the day.

There was no opposition to purchasing the property during the public hearing, a surprise to East Hampton Village Board member Barbara Borsack, given the price, she said.

“There’s very little left for us to preserve,” she said during the public hearing. “We were thrilled when this opportunity came up. It would be such a beautiful addition to our historic district.”

“We’re very, very happy with the outcome,” said Mr. Rickenbach. “Working with the Town Board, their decision. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The resolution will allow the town to enter into a contract of sale with the current owner and order a survey and a title for the land, according to Mr. Wilson. “We order a survey and a title and as soon as that’s back, the survey is clean without encroachments and other issues, title is back without issues, we’ll set a closing date,” he said.

Despite the property’s multimillion-dollar price tag, the village is still entitled to an additional $3.5 million, roughly, in CPF money, he added.

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