Suffolk County officials have announced plans to purchase the development rights of 18 acres of “pristine land” in Riverhead from the Harbes family, a $1.2 million move that will ensure the property remains as farmland. The land is adjacent to 27 acres of farmland along Sound Avenue already preserved by the county.
“The purchase of these farmland development rights insures that 45 acres of contiguous farmland will remain protected from development in the Town of Riverhead,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said in a statement Friday. “Our initiative here today helps to continue the tradition of locally grown produce on Long Island’s East End and will safeguard the Harbes family farm’s sweet corn, pumpkin, vegetables, flowers and, recently, grapes for future generations to enjoy.”
County Legislator Ed Romaine, whose district includes the Harbes family farm, was quoted in the same press release saying, “I am happy to co-sponsor this effort to protect the rural character of Sound Avenue and ensure that farming remains a viable industry in Suffolk County.”
The parcel is located on the north side of Sound Avenue, almost directly north of the intersection of Manor Lane and Sound Avenue. The Harbes family will be fully retaining the 10 acres of woodland to the north and four acres on Sound Avenue, including the farmhouse and several farm-related buildings, officials said. The county, however, will have a 100-foot-wide access point on Sound Avenue on the western boundary of the property facing an apple orchard.