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Naming of Peconic property for Bittner family stalls

Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) speaks during a meeting

Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) speaks during a meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature in Hauppauge on Feb. 26, 2018. Credit: Barry Sloan

A proposal to name a Suffolk-owned 57-acre tract on Long Island Sound for the family that sold the property to the county has stalled, at least temporarily, after Planning Director Sarah Lansdale raised concerns about the precedent it might set.

Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) had proposed naming the site “the Bittner Preserve at Sound View Dunes County Park” after the family who had owned the land and kept it intact at a time when the real estate market was booming. He said the Bittners voluntarily sold the site in Peconic to the county for $13 million in 2008, splitting the cost 50-50 with Southold Town, which manages the site. 

Lansdale raised concerns because the county actively seeks to sell naming rights, where possible, to corporations that may have an interest in attaching their names to county facilities. The county bought the Bittner site for full market value. Because of her concern, she said, “I am going to be a ‘No’ on this.”

Lawmakers on the legislative committee that reviews naming requests tabled the measure and asked Lansdale to do research on other county sites that have been named with and without payments.

Two months ago, Suffolk County Community College made a $1.79 million deal with Suffolk County Federal Credit Union for naming rights at the college expo-center field house in Brentwood. Bethpage Federal Credit Union has had a similar naming-right deal at the ballpark used by the Long Island Ducks.

However, Krupski said there were other examples where county acquisitions such as the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport and Gardiner Park in Islip had retained family names. “I don’t mind tabling it for a discussion, and if there’s a clear county policy we should follow it, but I don’t think this is inappropriate,” he said.

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