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Preservation effort in Jamesport falls through at last minute

A deal to preserve a 37.6-acre farm in Jamesport fell apart at the last minute, according to County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue).

The Main Road property was the longtime home of Gabrielsen Country Plant Farm, although the Gabrielsens never owned the property. They rented it from the early 1970s until 2015. The Gabrielsens still have a farm on Herricks Lane in Jamesport.

The farmland is owned by a group headed by Gordon Bahari, which has a Great Neck address, according to town records.

The property first went before Suffolk County’s farmland committee in 2017 as a possible candidate for a development rights purchase, a process that would have allowed only agricultural uses to continue there. The farmland committee orders appraisals on the land and makes recommendations to the county about which parcels to preserve.

Mr. Krupski said the property owners withdrew from the agreement within the last week or so.

“They were very much absentee owners, and it took a long time to reel them in,” Mr. Krupski said in an interview.

“We thought we had them hooked and on the boat, and just at the last second, they withdrew. They went all the way to contracts and then they got out of the contracts,” he said.

The north part of the property, which abuts Main Road, is zoned Rural Corridor; south of that, it is zoned Residence B80.

Rural Corridor zoning allows retail uses as well as farms, schools, museums, libraries, churches and residences.

It also allows professional offices, country inns, funeral homes, bistros, cafes and bed-and-breakfasts with a special permit from the Town Board.

The Residence B80 zone allows residences with a minimum lot size of two acres. Mr. Krupski could not recall the price offered for the development rights but said, “it was a fair market offer, and they accepted it, so we though this was a good thing.”

In 2017, the Multiple Listing Service had the property listed for sale at $4.5 million.

The Riverhead Town Board and the Greater Jamesport Civic Association had supported the acquisition of the property’s development rights.

It’s unclear what the owners’ plans for the land are now, or why the deal fell apart.

The owners could not be reached for comment at a number associated with the Great Neck address listed on property records. Colony Realty, which has a sign posted at the property indicating it’s for sale, did not return a call seeking comment.

Mr. Krupski said there are other good farm parcels in town that are coming through the pipeline toward preservation.

Photo credit: Tim Gannon

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