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County Legislature approves purchase of three lots off West Main Street for $1.14 million

The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved the purchase of three lots totaling 16.23 acres off West Main Street in Riverhead for $1.14 million Tuesday.

The money for the purchase comes from the County’s Quarter-Percent Drinking Water Protection Program. 

The land was last owned by Larry Simms, who now lives in Pittsburgh, and is a former duck farm which had not been active for more than 30 years. 

The site is on the south side of West Main Street, across from Kroemer Avenue, and stretches east of that intersection along the Peconic River. 

“They will be able to have a trail to the water and they will develop it over time,” said County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue). “There’s plenty of room for parking, and it adds to the preserved land on that side of the river.”

The resolution authorizing the sale states that the county’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation “will negotiate and enter into a municipal cooperative agreement with Riverhead Town on any improvements to, management and operation of this property as a hamlet park/historic and cultural park, in perpetuity.”

Mr. Simms, a former South Jamesport resident, had appeared before the town Zoning Board of Appeals in September 2017 asking the ZBA whether currently prohibited uses of the property — such as office space, restaurants or non-river related retail — could be permitted by ZBA variance. 

The proposal was never approved, as town officials said more information was needed.

The legislature on Tuesday also authorized the acquisition of 69.89 acres in Manorville for preservation. That land was owned by Joseph Gazza of Quogue and is located in the Brookhaven Town portion of Manorville.

The total purchase price was $1,157,094. The county will pay $867,820 of that amount and Brookhaven Town will pay $289,273, for a 75-to-25 percent split.

“It straddles the Long Island Expressway,” Mr. Krupski said. “It’s south of the Peconic River and north of the expressway. This is an important one because it’s surrounded by land that’s already preserved, so this is like the last piece in the puzzle. A hundred years from now, we’ll be gone, but this will stay be there.”