East Hampton Director of Aquaculture John "Barley" Dunne shows off...

East Hampton Director of Aquaculture John "Barley" Dunne shows off fledgling oysters at the town's shellfish nursery. Credit: Newsday/Vera Chinese

East Hampton Town will spend $2.1 million to purchase a 1.2-acre Springs property, possibly to be used for a new combined shellfish hatchery and nursery.

The town shellfish hatchery is on Fort Pond Road in Montauk, and the nursery is on Gann Road in Springs, next to the proposed new site. Clams, scallops and oysters are spawned in Montauk and then raised at the nursery on Three Mile Harbor . Combining the facilities would save money and time for town workers, said East Hampton land acquisition and management director Scott Wilson.

“This consolidation could add significant efficiency to the operation amounting to approximately $100,000 in savings in labor, fuel and vehicles over 10 years,” Wilson said during an Aug. 2 public hearing on the purchase.

The East Hampton Aquaculture Department raises mollusks to enhance the commercial shellfish stock and administers educational programs such as community oyster gardens.

The town board voted 5-0 in favor of using $1,420,510 in community preservation fund money —  which is funded through a 2 percent tax on real estate sales and used to preserve open space and for water quality initiatives —  and $679,490 from the capital budget to buy the Gann Road property.

A house is located on the property, which means preservation money could not be used to purchase that portion. Bennie Chiles and Terri Austin are the sellers.

The house could serve as an educational facility and an innovative alternative nitrogen reducing septic system could be used to educate the public on the technology, Wilson said.

The town will also apply for a $530,264 state grant for the project that officials said could total $4.75 million.

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