In the first half of 2016 East Hampton Town has purchased about 50 acres of land around the town for a little more than $9.6 million, using the town’s Community Preservation Fund revenues, and is already in contract on another $19.2 million worth of land totaling an additional 50 acres.
Much like in the latter half of 2015, a particular focus of the town’s open-space preservation efforts thus far in 2016 have been Montauk and Springs, where the town last year made an active appeal to property owners to sell for preservation.
In several instances, land with existing houses was purchased and the structures razed to allow the property to go back to a natural state.
The largest preservation move thus far was the purchase of development rights off the 35-acre Whitmore Nurseries Inc. land that lies between Long Lane and Route 114. The town paid the Whitmore’s just shy of $3.3 million, or about $93,000 per acre, for the rights to build homes on the land. The land will still be owned by the Whitmores and can be sold to a third party but is only usable for only agricultural or open space purposes—though that can include a horse farm or polo club.
The town is also in contract for the purchase of 12 acres of undeveloped woodlands near Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk from John C. Waddell for $4.4 million, and for 10.6 acres of woodlands in Wainscott from Sharon and Dering Sprague for $1.4 million.
The most relatively costly purchase thus far has been the $735,000 paid to Gaetano and Allison Lupo for a .12-acre parcel in the Maidstone neighborhood of Springs—which would average out to some $6.1 million per acre. The property, which fronts wetlands, contained two small cottages, which were removed.
The $915,000 that is to be paid to members of the Capocciamo family for two tiny waterfront lots on Shore Drive East in Lazy Point, totaling .22 acre, of land will average out to more than $4.1 million per acre.
The biggest bargain, thus far, was the 1.8 acres off Deforest Road purchased from an LLC for $10,000, an average of just $5,555 an acre. The land is adjacent to the Montauk Moorlands and fronts a small kettle hole pond set back from the bluffs near the famed “Tick Hall” home of Dick Cavett.
The purchases thus far this year have averaged out to a cost of about $198,000 per acre. Those in contract and waiting to be closed, average out to about $390,000 per acre.
The town took in about $28.5 million in 2015 from the CPF, which is funded by a 2-percent tax on most real estate sales. Through the end of May, the town had taken in more than $11 million this year.
Town CPF program director Scott Wilson said this week that after subtracting the $19.2 million already dedicated to deals that are in contract, the town’s CPF balance will stand at just over $25 million.
The CPF tax is currently authorized until 2030, but this fall voters will be asked to approve a 20-year extension, to 2050, that would also allow the town to direct up to 20 percent of the revenues to water quality improvement efforts.