Mattituck farm takes advantage of development rights program

12/22/2011 10:30 AM |

The owners of the Cooper Farm in Mattituck are the first farmers to take advantage of a town program instituted in 2007 that allows farmers to sell off their development rights one at a time.

The agricultural planned development district program allows farmers to place their land in a special zoning district, and the number of development right credits available on the property are calculated when the farmer applies for the program.

For example, the Cooper Farm, owned by brothers Douglas, David and Donald Cooper, is just under 26 acres in a two-acre zoning district on Breakwater Road. Town land preservation coordinator Melissa Spiro told the Southold Town Board at a work session Dec. 20 that the property would yield about 13 credits, which could be sold to the town one at a time and would be the equivalent of two acres of the property. The price per acre, set by the town every year, is currently $60,500.

Farmers who take part in the program can retain as many development rights as they want and can do a conservation subdivision of their remaining land, in which some land cannot be developed. But they cannot do a regular subdivision unless for some reason the town declines to buy the development rights. The farmers are initially required to sell one credit to the town and can sell their remaining credits when they choose. Southampton Town has a similar program.

“Basically it’s incremental density reduction,” said Councilman Al Krupski at Tuesday’s work session.

Ms. Spiro said the Coopers would initially like to sell four credits to the town.

The Town Board deemed the property eligible for rezoning at its Dec. 20 meeting and referred the proposal to the Planning Board and the Land Preservation Committee for review.


Suffolk County Water Authority representative recently asked Town Supervisor Scott Russell to consider allowing the water authority to place a large wind turbine at their property adjacent to Laurel Lake.

Right now, Southold only allows wind towers on agricultural land, but the town has been considering allowing public entities, like the town offices and schools, also to take advantage of wind power.

Mr. Russell said while he’s in favor of expanding wind power possibilities, he’s not sure the water authority’s Laurel property is the right site, since the Mattituck area is already one of the most developed in town. He said the water authority plans to use a turbine similar to a 100 kilowatt turbine recently installed at Pindar Vineyard in Southold.

Mr. Krupski said the Pindar turbine, across the street from his farm, is a beautiful, quiet machine.

“I don’t have an objection to it,” he said. “I don’t see it as a blight or marring the viewshed at all…. I see people taking pictures of it against the sunset.”

Town Board members agreed to forward the proposal to the planning department and the land preservation committee for review.


Tuesday was Councilman Vincent Orlando’s last Town Board meeting. The one-term Republican Town Councilman decided not to run for re-election this year in order to devote more time to his family. Members of the Town Board and the public thanked him for his service, and the Town Board presented Mr. Orlando with a painting of Goldsmith Inlet by town planner Mark Terry.

Mr. Krupski said that Mr. Orlando “worked hard for the town every day. I appreciate it and the whole town appreciates it.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time with these people and they’ve become my town family,” said Mr. Orlando. “This is not goodbye, it’s just ‘I’ll see you later.’ ”

Mr. Orlando has already put his name in the running for a seat on the town’s renewable energy committee.


The Town Board established a new, seven-member shellfish committee to advise different town boards on water quality and shellfish issues Tuesday night. Prospective members can submit their resumés to the Town Clerk’s office.

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