Wading River property will remain farmland with sale to Peconic Land Trust program

A six-acre farm in Wading River that was once the site of a proposed 50-room country inn and 100-seat restaurant has been sold to the Peconic Land Trust, which plans to resell the land to a qualified farmer. 

The land is located on the north side of Route 25A, across from CVS pharmacy, and has been fallow, although it is located adjacent to an active hops farm. 

It is owned by by Ken Barra’s Knightland, Inc., which also owns East Wind Caterers and the Shoppes at East Wind, which are located farther east between Route 25A and Sound Avenue.

“The Trust is working to secure the land’s permanent protection with plans to resell to a qualified farmer under our Farms for the Future Initiative,” Peconic Land Trust said in a release. 

“That’s good news,” said Sid Bail, president of Wading River Civic Association. “Peconic Land Trust is a great organization and Ken Barra made what I think is a wise decision. Farms are disappearing. I’m glad Ken made that decision.”

The Trust said Mr. Barra reached out to them after learning about the opportunities available from a farmer in the area. 

The Trust had used grants provided by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to underwrite both its staff time for outreach to farmland owners and the cost of appraisals for farmland to support and encourage a dialogue about conservation options. 

These grants opened many avenues of discussions, including the one with Mr. Barra that has led to this recent acquisition, the Trust said. 

“It was a wonderful experience working with the Trust,” Mr. Barra said in a statement. 

Mr. Barra had proposed several uses for the property over the years. In 2002, he planned a 50-room country inn with a 100-seat restaurant, both of which required zoning amendments. 

It was one of four commercial properties the town rezoned in 2002 as part of its Route 25A Wading River Corridor Hamlet Study, a move that resulted in a lawsuit against them. 

It most recently was proposed to have a four-building 31,181-square-foot medical office center, which conformed to the new zoning. 

The six acres also was the site of Peconic Bay Medical Center’s annual carnival.

The sale price was not disclosed.