Attorneys for Commack public schools are again willing to entertain proposals from those interested in buying Marion Carll Farm, in hopes it could help resolve litigation over control of the site.
In a statement issued Tuesday, officials at the Southampton-based Peconic Land Trust said they notified the district in February of their renewed interest in the roughly 9-acre farm, which dates to 1701 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
"The Peconic Land Trust is very interested in the future use, ownership, and management of the property," Kimberly Quarty, project manager for the trust, said in the statement. "We are assessing all options but are mindful that nothing can be done until ongoing litigation regarding the property is resolved."
Carll left the Commack farm to the district in 1969 on the condition that it be maintained as a historical site or educational farm. Her descendants sued in 2012 to retake ownership because they alleged the district has not met those conditions.
Commack officials had previously sought to sell the farm, which has cost the district thousands of dollars a year in maintenance, but residents voted down the proposal.
The Peconic Land Trust participated in the early public hearings and first expressed interest in buying Marion Carll Farm in 2011.
Scott M. Karson, an attorney with Melville-based Lamb & Barnosky, which represents the district, said school officials are considering whether a sale could spur a settlement with the heirs.
"The district is exploring the possibility of an amicable resolution of the dispute over ownership of the Marion Carll property by identifying and entertaining proposals from parties having an interest in purchasing the property," Karson said in a statement.
He said the district has asked the trust for a firm, written proposal for officials to consider. So far, Peconic is the only party that has reached out, but "we'd be happy to talk to others," Karson said.
Huntington-based attorney S. Russ DiFazio, who represents Carll's heirs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Both parties were in court in March, when state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Martin granted the heirs' motion to seek damages from the district, should they win the case.
Martin rejected a motion by district officials to change their legal strategy to use statutes of limitations in its fight against the heirs.
Karson said the case does not have a scheduled date to return to court, but the district is preparing a motion seeking summary judgment in its favor and an order to dismiss the heirs' complaint.
Officials at the Peconic Land Trust, which has never acquired property from a school district, said they have not commissioned an appraisal of the farm's value, and that any valuation will take into account the "encumbrances on the property as well as costs to stabilize and restore buildings on site."