The Brookhaven Town Board last month unanimously approved the purchase of nearly 90 acres of former farmland in Eastport, most of which will remain as open space, while a small portion will allow for the future expansion of an adjacent sports complex currently under construction.
Board members agreed on April 8 to spend $7.7 million on the property, land on which 70 single-family homes could have been constructed, according to Brookhaven Town officials. The town intends to buy the land, which sits just to the west of Eastport Manor Road and is nestled between Old County Road and Sunrise Highway, from the Eastport Manor Development Company.
Town officials expect to close on the purchase within the next few months, according to Kevin Molloy, a spokesman for the municipality. He said officials still need to complete a final appraisal on the land. The town intends to set aside approximately $2.56 million a year over the next three years to finance the acquisition.
Mr. Molloy also noted that between 5 and 10 acres of the land will be set aside to allow for the expansion of the Eastport South Manor sports complex that’s now being built. The recreational facility currently sits on 10 acres and just west of the larger property that the town intends to purchase.
Officials at the Eastport Manor Development Company, which lists its offices in Glen Cove, could not be reached for comment this week regarding the proposed deal.
Prior to being rezoned, the land originally could have accommodated a 75,000-square-foot retail complex, according to 6th District Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico.
“When I was first elected, I led the charge to deny a commercial site plan application that would have constructed nearly 75,000 square feet of retail that would have changed Eastport forever,” Mr. Panico said in a prepared statement announcing the proposed acquisition. “I am proud to announce … [that] we have taken another great leap in preserving the character of Eastport and eastern Brookhaven for generations to come.”
The town also intends to complete an environmental audit on the property, former farmland that was contaminated by metals and pesticides. An environmental report completed during the review process several years ago states that four pesticides and three metals—arsenic, copper and mercury—were found in soil samples taken at 15 different locations on the property. In 13 of the 15 samples, the levels of arsenic detected exceeded acceptable Suffolk County Department of Health levels. Most of the boring locations were located within the footprint of the proposed subdivision, according to the same report.
In 2011, the Brookhaven Town Planning Board granted conditional final site plan approval to the developers behind the proposed 70-lot subdivision, formerly dubbed Woodland Meadows. As part of that old plan, the Eastport Manor Development Company offered to preserve 45 acres as open space while setting aside almost 10 acres for ballfields.