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Dec 20, 2016 1:17 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bistrians Say Amagansett Farm Preservation Is In Jeopardy, Will Press For Development

The tract of farmland in amagansett owned by the Bistrian Family.
Dec 20, 2016 2:44 PM

The Bistrian family says that negotiations with East Hampton Town officials for the preservation of a large tract of Amagansett farmland have again reached an impasse, and that the family is going to begin pursuing development plans.

Bonnie Krupinski, one of four siblings in the eldest generation of the family, said by email last week that the family is “evaluating a number of options,” as to how it will proceed now that, she said, the negotiations for preservation appear to have ground to a halt.

In a message earlier in the week, Ms. Krupinski said that the town’s latest offer had been $22 million for the development rights of all 30 acres—an amount that she said was some $10.5 million below what the family’s appraiser had determined the development rights are worth.

“It has always been our desire to maintain this as farmland and undeveloped, as it has been for the past 50 years under family ownership, similar to what we have done with other farmland we have owned,” Ms. Krupinski said in an email on Thursday, December 15. “However, the vast disparity in the offered price and appraised price is far too great.”

The town, as per policy, has not made public its own independent appraisals. If it were to use Community Preservation Fund money to purchase the property, as would be expected, the town is obliged to pay no more than roughly what its appraisers say the land or the development rights are worth.

Supervisor Larry Cantwell confirmed this week that the town had, indeed, made an offer for the purchase of development rights from the land about two weeks ago. The town, he said, had ordered two independent appraisals of the Bistrians’ land and that both were “far from what the family feels the land is worth.”

He said that he is hopeful the land can still be preserved, but the disparity in the positions of the two sides does not cast a lot of hope for that outcome.

“My preference would be that it is preserved and protected from development,” Mr. Cantwell said. “With that goal in mind, you never walk away. But given the difference in value between what the town believes and what the family believes, it’s hard to be encouraged.”

The first course of action for the family would, presumably, have to be to press forward with threatened legal action seeking to compel the town to create a road access to the property, which is landlocked except where it borders the main municipal parking lot in the hamlet.

In a letter to the Town Board in August, an attorney representing the Bistrians said that part of the agreement by which the family effectively gifted the 2 acres of land that became the municipal parking lot was the creation of a roadway that snaked through the property, with an outlet onto Windmill Lane, which borders the western edge of the farm field.

Mr. Cantwell, however, reiterated doubts raised by town officials earlier this year that the land where the Bistrians say the road should cut between private homes on Windmill Lane is usable for such a purpose.

“They’re going to have to prove,” the supervisor said, “that they have the rights they think they have.”

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Oh just develop it and get it over with, we could use additional tax revenues.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Dec 20, 16 3:32 PM
So, what would you do with the additional revenue?
By Split Rock (68), North Haven on Dec 20, 16 3:36 PM
Every stitch of land on Long Island is grossly overpriced.

If you truly want it preserved so badly, take the 22 M and enjoy it.

It's more money than 90% of the people alive on the planet today will ever see in a lifetime.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 20, 16 3:38 PM
4 members liked this comment
By Danny51 (5), East Hampton on Dec 20, 16 3:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
The more accurate description would be extortion.

But it's a free market, yes? But if they can get the bigger bucks, let'em try, and let the Town Board trying to deal with it through the Land Use process -- that'll be worth several years of Press coverage right there!

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Dec 20, 16 4:22 PM
2 members liked this comment
A million dollar an acre on unapproved land? I seriously doubt it. Let these greedy idiots get permits. They will have to preserve a portion, and wait years for approvals. Its a joke!
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 20, 16 4:33 PM
They are far from idiots and have the money and patience to wait it out. My guess is they get what they want.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Dec 20, 16 9:26 PM
Greed, conspicuous consumption and ego driven competition between small minded locals are to blame. The bistrian and krupinski families suffer the classic big fish - small pond syndrome. Grotesque.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Dec 21, 16 5:56 AM
The Bistrains are to be commended for even coming to the table.
A good percentage of landowners tell municipalities to take a hike--probably because they don't want their good name smeared in anonymous email threads (see above)

Greed?--What is this Kindergarten?

When preservationists eventually slap a "For Sale" sign on their houses, they're going to ask and receive fair market value--not a cent more.

Local Towns have a small group of appraisers who constantly low-ball ...more
By aging hipster (201), Southampton on Dec 21, 16 6:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
CPF has water issues to content with now.

Let development occur on this property, the tax base needs to expand organically.
By Amagansett Voter (62), Amagansett on Dec 21, 16 4:15 PM
Let them build and save 22 million. Whatever handful of homes they build will be sited far from the parking lot and Town Lane and screened with trees. Impact won't be great.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Dec 22, 16 2:09 PM
I have trouble accepting that development rights, on bulk acreage, north of the highway, sells for more than $1 million an acre. You can buy building lots for less than that. Seems like the sellers number is what they want, and not market value. I think they need to produce their valuation.Further I doubt thay could get that price, in the market, if sold to a developer. So let them sell it in the market and see what happens.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Dec 23, 16 6:34 AM
The Bistrians are not a charity organization. It's their land. They can price their property for any amount that they want. There are plenty who believe that $22M is more than fair. Doesn't matter. It's likely the family isn't in any current financial need. They certainly shouldn't be shamed because of their choice. The majority of sellers would certainly try to get similar returns. It's almost certain that this property will only go up in value anyway. What's their reason to rush?
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Dec 23, 16 5:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
It would be interesting to know how the various appraisers have put a value on the access issues, both from the public parking lot, and for the exit to Windmill Lane. It seems as if the property owners feel that the access issues are clear and all resolved, whereas Supv. Cantwell's statement near the end of the article questions whether the access is legally clear cut.

If any litigation will be required to establish clear ingress to, and/or egress from, the parcel in question, this process ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Dec 23, 16 6:10 PM