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Proposal submitted for Wells Farm to be preserved

The children of the late Lyle Wells have offered to sell the development rights to their family farm on Phillips Lane in Aquebogue so it will be preserved as farmland. 

The Riverhead Town Board passed a resolution Tuesday in support of that plan. 

The Wells farm is one of the original land grants from the Town of Southold to William Wells in 1661 and was farmed by the Wells family for 12 generations, according to Riverhead Councilman Frank Beyrodt, who is a farmer himself. 

Mr. Wells died in January 2018. His children, Matt and Jessica, have continued to farm the land. They submitted an application to the Suffolk County Farmland Committee asking them to make a recommendation to the Suffolk County Legislature to accept their offer to sell the development rights. Financial details have not yet been determined.

Under that proposal, the property could continue to be farmed, but it could not be developed. Lyle Wells served as president of Long Island Farm Bureau, served on the New York State Farm Bureau, was chairman of the town’s Agricultural Advisory Committee and was a longtime member of the Riverhead Planning Board. He also was a leader in the effort to creating a transfer of development rights program in Riverhead.