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Laurel housing development would preserve farmland

The developers of a six-lot residential subdivision proposed for 18 acres of farmland in Laurel will cluster the development so portions of the property can be preserved for agriculture. 

The Riverhead Town Planning Board discussed the application at its meeting last Thursday and scheduled a public hearing for Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.

The property is west of Laurel Lane and  Schmitt’s Farm Stand.

It stretches south from Main Road to Peconic Bay Boulevard, with the Long Island Rail Road running though the middle of it.

The current proposal would preserve 9.7 acres of farmland south of the tracks as well as 4.6 acres  fronting Route 25.

The applicant, Kaufold Farms, had originally sought a subdivision of seven lots — six residential and one agricultural. They have subsequently amended the plan to eliminate one residential lot, which would slightly increase the size of all six parcels. The farm lot has an existing house, barn and accessory buildings. The average size of the residential lots would increase from 19,844 square feet to 21,298 square feet, officials said.  

The change would has result in the proposed residential lots being farther from the railroad tracks.

The proposed residential lots are north of the railroad and south of the existing farm lot. 

“One major change is that the Long Island Workforce Housing Act requires any subdivision with five or more lots to provide affordable housing,” said Jeff Murphree, Riverhead Town’s building and planning administrator.

Because this applicant has reduced the number of lots to fewer than the zoning yield for the property allows, it is now exempt from that affordable housing requirement, , Mr. Murphree said.

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Photo caption: The property is west of Laurel Lane and  Schmitt’s Farm Stand. (Tim Gannon photo)