Conceding that he doesn’t have the votes, Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) is withdrawing his bill that would have given farmland preservation and open space purchases an equal share of dwindling county funding.
The lawmaker will instead offer a new bill to streamline the approval process and require properties considered for preservation meet a certain rating threshold.
“It doesn’t make sense to get an appraisal on all these parcels if you have only $2.5 million to spend and 20 parcels on the list,” Mr. Krupski said. “With limited money, we want to acquired the highest quality open space and the highest quality farmland. Why appraise them all, especially if the ratings aren’t high?”
The county currently appraises each property suggested for preservation, regardless of its environmental value. The new Krupski measure would require open space parcels reach a minimum rating of 45 out of a possible 100. Farmland, which follows a different rating system, must obtain at least 11.25 out of 25.
If another municipality shares the cost, the parcel would receive a higher score.
While disappointed the original draft didn’t gain the 10 votes needed, Mr. Krupski said he’s optimistic the amended version will pass in the 18-member legislature.
“I think I have support for this,” he said. “There is a realization that we should be preserving the best and highest quality. With money being so short it’s important to start now.”
The lawmaker said he has yet to come to an agreement on his new proposal with Long Island Pine Barrens director Richard Amper, the most outspoken critic of his original bill.
Mr. Krupski said he would introduce the amendment during the legislature’s Tuesday meeting in Hauppauge.