More active recreation in new North Fork Preserve proposal

The proposed acquisition of the 307-acre North Fork Preserve property in Northville is being reworked to allow more of the land to be used for active recreation, a move that will require another public hearing on the project.

The Town Board held a public hearing on Nov. 3, 2010, on the proposed joint acquisition of the land with Suffolk County, and later authorized the deal to go forward.

The land comprises two parcels, 133 acres owned by North Fork Preserve Co. and a 173-acre site owned by North Fork Preserve Inc.
Under the prior arrangement, 90 of the 307 acres would be set aside for active recreation uses. The town would pay 10 percent of the cost of those 90 acres, up to a maximum of $500,000, and the county would pay the rest of the acquisition costs of the 307 acres.

The new plan will be subject to a public hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. It sets aside 2.6 acres of the 133-acre parcel for active recreation and states that the county and town will pay, respectively, 90 percent and 10 percent of the cost of that piece. It also states that the county will pay acquisition costs for the parcel’s remaining 130.4 acres.

For the 173-acre parcel, the new proposal states that the county will pay 95 percent of the acquisition cost and the town 5 percent, and that all 173 acres will be used for active recreation.

The town’s maximum outlay is still $500,000 under the new proposal.

“This will allow for more active recreation on the property,” Councilman George Gabrielsen said. There’s an old clubhouse area on a part of the land that officials decided could support more active recreation such as tennis, volleyball and camping. Otherwise, he said, the land could only have been used for passive recreation, which, he said, is mostly hiking.

“The county told us that they will pay for any improvements for active recreation but we have to maintain them,” Mr. Gabrielsen said.

Because county money is being used in the purchase, the site must be made available to all county residents, he said.

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