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Feb 23, 2011 12:04 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Farming Use Pitched For Aldrich Lane Park

Feb 23, 2011 12:04 PM

A local farmer in search of a parcel of land to farm on is interested in Aldrich Lane Park on North Sea Road in Southampton Village that is jointly owned by the village and Southampton Town.

The two municipalities have never agreed on a specific use for the land, which they purchased jointly in 2001 for $1.6 million using Community Preservation Fund dollars.

Village officials on Tuesday night opted to table a resolution to enter into a license agreement that would lease the land out for agricultural use, saying they want to explore other options.

According to an agreement prepared by Mary Wilson, the town’s Community Preservation Fund manager, Juan Soledad would be allowed to farm nearly 6 acres of parkland for $150 per acre for a total license annual fee of nearly $870.

But Village Trustee Paul Robinson, acting in his role of deputy mayor while Mayor Mark Epley was on vacation, said on Tuesday he would like to entertain other ideas.

“I’m hoping that someone in the community will step forward and make some other suggestions that we can take a look at and consider,” Mr. Robinson said, listing a dog park, basketball courts and a community garden as examples.

Trustees Bonnie Cannon and Nancy McGann agreed with the decision to table the measure. Trustee Richard Yastrzemski was absent.

Ms. Wilson said on Wednesday morning that Mr. Soledad had approached the town in search of farmland to lease after other land he was utilizing became unavailable.

“Aldrich Lane has prime ag soils,” Ms. Wilson explained. “It’s got the best soil for farming, so we always felt that if we could incorporate some ag stewardship on it, it’d be a good way to manage the property.”

She said once the Village Board signed off on the lease agreement, it would be presented to the Town Board. When asked about parkland, she replied that multiple uses could be possible, including use as open space.

Mr. Soledad could not be reached on Wednesday morning, but the mayor said via e-mail that the farmer had rented land from the Ludlow family in Bridgehampton until they expanded their cheese-producing business and needed their land back.

Aldrich Lane Park is the subject of an unresolved lawsuit between the village and town. The town sued the village in 2007, charging that plans by Mr. Epley to plant shrubbery and create an open-air hiring site for day laborers who congregate near the site was a misuse of the Community Preservation Fund.

Donation Toward 
WWI Monument Restoration

The Southampton Colony Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution donated $10,000 to Southampton Village last week to be used toward the village’s planned renovation of its aging World War I memorial in Agawam Park. The donation, which was received on February 15, more than doubles the amount of money that had been raised since the project was announced in July. But funds raised for the restoration are only about 6 percent of the project’s estimated cost of $250,000.

According to Village Administrator Stephen Funsch, the 38 donations received toward the restoration now total $15,242. Village officials had originally hoped to start the work last fall.

Consultant for Parrish 
Replacement Selected

The Village Board on Tuesday, as expected, chose a consultant, Webb Management Services, to help usher in a new era for the Parrish Art Museum building.

Mayor Mark Epley is now expected to sign a contract with the company, which will work with the village to determine uses for the historic museum building on Jobs Lane, keeping in line with the village’s plans to highlight its Arts District.

The cost of the service is expected to be about $47,500. Jen Mesiano, the village’s grants coordinator and one of the members of the committee that ultimately selected Webb, told the board on Tuesday that additional options could add several thousand dollars to the cost, but that Webb had the lowest cost of all proposals.

The Manhattan-based firm was selected by a committee of village officials and residents from four finalists and 10 overall bids. Its mission, according to its website, is to “support creative ventures with sound and imaginative planning and services.”

Its prior work on the East End includes conducting a feasibility study for the potential relocation of Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theatre in 2006.

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So the Town spends $1.6 million to buy land using Community Preservation Funds (which preserves lands for the "community"). Someone comes along and wants to farm it at a cost of $870/year and gets to keep 100% of the profits (minus $870) from his farming business.

How is that an appropriate use of CPF dollars? The town/village essentially bought a farm for this guy to use on the backs of all the homeowners in the Township.

Ag use on CPF properties is OK when the Town buys the ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 23, 11 12:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
This land was purchased on behalf of the public, as I understand it, so its use should be for the public and not a private individual. As a park it should have facilities for such. I suggest soccer fields, or a football field, a running track...And of course municipal toilets for many. Ideally, if allowable, it would make a great location for an Olympic quality municipal swimming facility indoor/outdoor, long course/short course, with saunas. That would be a great place to spend that PDD public ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Feb 23, 11 2:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
Great place for a dog park! Bordering two of the most traveled multi lane roads in the town. Wait until fido smells a Big Mac or a Burrito! Dead dog.
I can see the next headline. "Wealthy Southampton Village Resident awarded 6.2 Million dollars in death of Family Pet. Village and town attorneys vow appeal".

Just what kind of "community garden" is Mr. Robinson thinking of...
might wanna consider not smoking the green stuff.
By c'mon now (46), southampton on Feb 23, 11 6:39 PM
or perhaps a medical green stuff community garden...So we can all get along...Can you imagine the Board giggling after having smoked the medical green stuff..."what do you mean the attorney didn't file a reply to the doggy suit..." hihihi.. By the way where is the Burrito restaurant?
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Feb 23, 11 8:04 PM
Great place for an INDOOR pool. Considering the local waters are a bit too chilly in the middle of winter, it would be a very nice alternative to get some year round aquatic exercise.

As it stands, the East Hampton YMCA is the only option east of the canal.

Just my two cents...
Feb 23, 11 9:14 PM appended by Mr. Z
Providence forbid the the MARINERS, have a POOL, a swim team, AND some home turf to defend.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 23, 11 9:14 PM
3 members liked this comment
I am certainly not against local farmers, but this land was purchased as a park for the folks nearby. So build the park.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Feb 24, 11 9:18 AM
i cant wait for this comments sections to get going .. in no time there shud be plenty of insults & digressins from the same cast of characters .. shud be really good reading and funny stuff.
whatever they build they should put an eruv in place ... i sugggest a corn maze and fake pumpkin patch with a whole bunch stoopit looking wood ships and junk because no one makes more dough than that guy who is doing just this every fall just east of the diner across from duckwalk ... darn all the locals ...more
By david h (405), southampton on Feb 24, 11 11:53 AM
I think that farmer that puts up that fall farm-stand is one of the more successful farms out here. He supplies many of the local "farm-stands" around --those that are just stores but pose as farm-stands--and other localities. His own farm stand during the season is a modest shack that still operates on the "money box and trust basis".. That fall themed stand of theirs is actually quite popular with the up-island day trippers that come out for the apple picking and pumpkin picking. Replicating that ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Feb 24, 11 12:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
How about this for a novel idea. Don't do anything with it. No blacktop. No concrete. No fences. No buildings. No signs. No rules about parking. No expense to maintain. Just some open green space left alone in the Village like there used to be so much of.
By Sandflea (35), Southampton on Feb 24, 11 12:47 PM
interesting idea yes ... but haha, good joke - seriously, why do you think developments are called "improvements" ?? because the stuff we build is better than the trees & woods & fields that were there to begin with like c'mon Sandlflea, malls are better than trees
what we need to keep doing is this "develop every square inch" mission that our beloved developers are on. WE NEED THAT TUCKAHOE MALL !!! MORE CONDOS, MORE 7-11s, MORE PUBLIC RESTROOMS, WIDER ROADS more more MORE!
By david h (405), southampton on Feb 24, 11 1:03 PM
Can you really say someone is enjoying that green space.? The way things are now its not a very welcoming place the fast food businesses, the busy street, the gas station the tire placd, and of course the sight of undocumented laborers standing around for work. Nobody enjoys that park as it is. The people that want dog parks don't want it there. They want it on Agawam park. So building a park with park like facilities might be interesting. A nice playground where parents can drive their kids too ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Feb 24, 11 4:04 PM
Right now this piece of land is a garbage field, which no one enjoys. There are no views, no wetlands, no saving of farmer owned farmland, no preservation of pine barrens or groundwater - absolutely NO public benefit whatsoever. It should never have been purchased with CPF. With that said, it's time to correct this mistake & make it into something everyone can enjoy - a park, with facilities, for everyone.
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Feb 25, 11 1:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Jane Q,

Write to ATH & Co. and Mayor Epley requesting such.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 25, 11 2:57 PM