Town and county preserve 32 acres in Cutchogue

In a partnership with Suffolk County, Southold Town will preserve more than 30 acres on the north side of County Road 48 as open space in Cutchogue to help protect drinking water.

The municipalities agreed to purchase two wooded lots between Alvahs Lane and Road D, totaling 32.04 acres for $2,850,720 from WW Farms LLC, which is owned by members of the Wickham family. The transaction has been a longstanding goal for the town and the county, which are splitting the purchase price 50/50, Southold Town Supervisor Al Krupski said. The town’s portion will be paid through its Community Preservation Fund, which is earmarked for the purchase of land and development rights. The county’s share will be covered through its Drinking Water Protection Program, funded by a tax that county voters have approved multiple times since 1987. The initiative is meant to protect groundwater through various initiatives, including open space purchases.

“It’s been close to three years,” Mr. Krupski said of acquiring the property. “It’s kind of cool because as a county legislator I got to vote on it, and now as town supervisor I got to vote on it. It helps both the county and the town.”

Last October, the Suffolk County Legislature approved the partnership with Southold. In its resolution, the county explained the purchase adheres to the mission outlined in the Drinking Water Protection Program, as the Cutchogue property is located within a “designated special groundwater protection area” because it sits above an aquifer used for water supply, and has been “identified by the South Shore Estuary Reserve (SSER), Peconic Estuary Program (PEP), and/or Long Island Sound Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (LICMP) as needed to protect coastal water resources.”

All six Southold Town Board members voted in favor of the agreement at the Jan. 30 board meeting, Mr. Krupski also thanked the Wickham family, members of which control WW Farms LLC.

“This is a voluntary program for land preservation and I’d just like to thank the Wickham family for participating,” he said. “It’s surrounded by preserved farmland so it really fits into that whole viewshed going north towards Oregon Road. It’s right next to Sannino Vineyard and it’s a really great purchase.”