County may aid waterfront buy

05/20/2010 12:00 AM |

Suffolk County took steps last month to acquire 1.28 acres waterfront at the end of New Suffolk Avenue, which would help the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund reach its goal of preserving the area.

The New Suffolk Waterfront Fund might get help from Suffolk County in its quest to purchase 3.5 acres at the end of New Suffolk Avenue from the Peconic Land Trust for $2.4 million, a deal that has to be done by the end of the year.

The County Legislature approved a resolution last month to take the first procedural steps that could lead to the acquisition. The measure, introduced by Legislator Ed Romaine, calls for the county to acquire the 1.28-acre southern portion, with the waterfront fund acquiring the remaining 2.23-acre northern section. Final acquisition would require additional legislation.

The waterfront property is owned by the Peconic Land Trust, which bought it in 2007 from the Raynor family to hold for the waterfront fund, founded in 2005, as it tried to raise $2.4 million to acquire it and protect it from potentially intense commercial or residential development.

The site once contained the first U.S. Navy submarine base in the country.

So far the fund has raised $1.1 million; it must raise the remaining $1.3 million by the end of the year under the terms of its deal with the land trust. But if the county buys some of the property, the waterfront fund would need less to buy the remainder.

“I was happy to sponsor the necessary planning steps resolution for this environmentally significant and historic site,” Mr. Romaine said in a statement. “Ensuring that sensitive properties be kept in their pristine state and protected for future generations continues to be my priority.”

Barbara Schnitzler, chairperson of the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund, called the measure a “great first step.”

“This could bring a lot of money our way,” she said. “And the county has no desire to manage the property if they do acquire it. They’ll leave that up to us, which is another nice thing.”

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