Southold officials and environmental advocates said the town’s recent acquisition of the development rights on about 126.7 acres of land that is home to a local golf course in Greenport will help not only protect wildlife there but also ensure the land remains protected for future generations.
The town finalized the $5.1 million deal on the Island’s End Golf & Country Club property on Dec. 6. Funding for the purchase came from the town's Community Preservation Fund.
Southold Supervisor Scott Russell called the move “an exciting purchase and a great opportunity.”
“Not only was this the largest preservation project in the history of the Town program, it ensures that the last remaining public golf course on the East End continues to operate for all to enjoy,” Russell said.
Holly Sanford, project manager for Southampton-based environmental advocacy group The Peconic Land Trust, said in an interview last week that the group was approached in 2015 by one of the property owners about possibly conserving the property. Since that time, Sanford said, the group had been searching for funding sources and partnerships on the local, county and state levels to facilitate a deal while also ensuring the public would continue to be able to golf there.
“That took us a long time because we went from one to the other and we were trying to encourage partnerships, which is often done in big acquisitions such as this,” Sanford said.
The course is on the Long Island Sound, and the property is also a habitat for wildlife such as red-tail hawks, foxes, deer and owls.
Under the deal, the King and Turner families — who own most of the property — and the golf course will retain ownership of the land, subject to the restrictions of the town easement. This means that if either the golf course, which owns roughly about one-third of the property, is discontinued or the families decide to discontinue their arrangement with the golf course, the town would be able to make sure the property is used for either farming, a similar golf course or passive recreational uses such as a trail, Sanford said.
Catherine Chaudhuri, president of Island’s End Golf & Country Club, said the golf course’s board and shareholders “are thrilled our public course has been preserved.”
Mary M. Pacinda-Turner, a property owner representing the Turner family, said in a statement that her late husband, Robert Turner, would be “very proud that his father’s legacy will now continue to be enjoyed by the community that he so loved.”
William King, a co-owner who represented the King family, called the deal “a great outcome, and something my father would be proud of and always hoped would happen.”
- The Island’s End Golf & Country Club opened in 1961 and expanded to 18 holes in 1963, according to the Peconic Land Trust.
- Ownership of the 126.7-acre property is split between the King and Turner families, who own 93.9 acres, and the club, which owns 32.8 acres. The club leases the 93.9 acres from the King and Turner family for the course.
- The town’s zoning regulations would have allowed the development of about 53 residential homes on the property at full yield, according to Peconic Land Trust officials.