PHOTO COURTESY OF SUFFOLK COUNTY
County Executive Steve Levy (at podium) was joined last Thursday by elected officials and environmentalists when he announced that Suffolk County plans to invest $2.2 million to preserve 30 acres of farmland owned by the Kozak family in Riverhead.
Suffolk County plans to purchase the development rights to 30 acres of farmland on Reeves Avenue in Riverhead, county officials announced last week.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said at a press event last Thursday that the parcel, owned by the Kozak family, was the 75th property to be preserved as open space in the county in the past six years. He added that 38 of those parcels have been in Riverhead Town.
“We’re going to preserve Riverhead as the farming capital of Suffolk County,” Mr. Levy said.
Preserving the land, which will cost $2.2 million, would make for 189 contiguous acres of open space between Sound Avenue and Reeves Avenue.
The development rights purchase would result in the land’s being restricted to agricultural use. It would be paid for by county money slated for open space, which is funded through a quarter percent sales tax.
The acquisition must be voted on by the county Legislature before the deal is official. The farm, which produces cauliflower, broccoli, squash and potatoes, is owned by the family of former town Supervisor Bob Kozakiewicz though some family members go by the name Kozak.
Heddie Kozak, whose family has owned the farm for more than 100 years, said she was more than happy to preserve the farm.
“I never want to see this farm built with houses,” she said. “The island is built up enough.”