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Town reaches agreement with horse farm

Firefighters battle a mulch fire that broke out

Firefighters battle a mulch fire that broke out at Wildwood Farms at 1130 West Jericho Turnpike. (April 12, 2012) Credit: James Carbone

Owners of a ranch cited as an illegal wood-chipping operation have agreed to remove mulch piles from the property and to reimburse Huntington for an emergency cleanup the town began last month.

The pact with brothers Wayne and John Dougal comes after a State Supreme Court judge last month issued a temporary restraining order allowing town officials to shut down the Dougals' operation at 1130 W. Jericho Tpke.

The judge ordered the Dougals and fire marshals to devise a plan to remove the piles, after several fires over a week. Last week, the town board approved the agreement and appropriated $250,000 for the cost of the cleanup.

"We came to this agreement while we were in court," Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said. "Our costs will be paid either directly by the owners or there will be a lien on the property when it's sold."

The Dougal brothers could not be reached for comment.

After multiple fires broke out last month, Petrone declared a state of emergency, which allowed the town to begin to remove what fire officials described as a pile about 300 feet long, 200 feet wide and up to 60 feet high in some areas, on the privately owned lot.

The property is the site of the Indian Head Ranch, which according to its website, specializes in horse sales, supplying stock to police mounted units, including the NYPD. It also offers riding lessons, clinics and horse boarding.

The 18-acre ranch, at the site for more than 50 years, sits in residential zoning along Jericho Turnpike, east of Plainview Road. More than 2 acres of the ranch rest in the Town of Oyster Bay. Residents for years have complained about odors coming from the ranch.

In recent years, Huntington officials have cited the ranch for such offenses as operating a restaurant without a permit. The restaurant is now closed.

"Whether we clean it or they clean it, it will be done," Petrone said. "But we had to go in there and take charge because the situation was in a state of emergency."

In January 2011, the town board approved a zoning change that will allow construction of a luxury senior community on the site.

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