Unique preservation effort clears way for blueberry business on Horton Lane

04/07/2012 9:00 AM |

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | This property on Horton Lane in Southold, purchased through the farmland bond program by Southold Town in 2010, was sold to a blueberry farmer on March 22.

Southold Town has sold the Conway farm on Horton Lane to an Amityville-based blueberry farmer for $1.05 million.

It was the first property acquired by the town through a $4 million farmland bond, approved by voters in 2007 with the purpose of purchasing farmland outright to clear up estate issues and selling it with assurances that the land will continue to be farmed.

The 31-acre farm was owned by the estate of Julia Conway, whose son, former Southold Town police chief Joseph Conway, handled the sale to the town in the fall of 2010. Under that agreement, the town purchased the development rights to 29 of the farm’s 31 acres for $1.8 million, using money from the Community Preservation Fund. The town then purchased the property outright for another $822,500.

On March 22, Bhavana Berries LLC of Amityville closed on the property, 29 acres of which can now never be developed, returning both the town’s investment from the farmland bond and an additional $227,500 to the preservation program’s coffers.

“The farmland bond program worked exactly as I envisioned it,” said Supervisor Scott Russell. “I am pleased to be part of a Town Board that offered this to the voters and proud to be part of a board that implemented the program.”

Town & Country Real Estate brought the buyer to the town, which had listed it with The Corcoran Group.

“Town & Country was delighted to procure the buyer of Horton Lane Farm and help bring this transaction to a close, helping a farmer find his farm, and the North Fork and Southold Town stay rural,” the company said in a press release. “Nicholas Planamento, associate broker and selling agent, has been interested in farmland preservation in the North Fork for many years.

His passion for preservation and his expertise in the area played an important role in the success of this deal.”

The farm, at 4395 Horton Lane, just north of the Lucas Ford dealership, had been planted with potatoes, cauliflower and cabbage by the Conway family, who purchased the land in 1953. The land was most recently planted with sod.

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