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Deal signed to preserve Cold Spring Harbor waterfront

A contract has been signed, bringing a public-private partnership closer to owning about 27 acres of wooded waterfront property in Cold Spring Harbor.

The Town of Huntington, Suffolk County and the Old Westbury-based North Shore Land Alliance have been working together for years and recently signed a $6 million contract to buy and preserve 27.18 acres of the DeForest Williams estate, which sits high above the harbor. Many have feared development, especially after the town approved a 15-lot subdivision on the property last year.

"It is very exciting," said Lisa Ott, president of the North Shore Land Alliance.

The partnership's next steps will include having title reports, an environment assessment and survey done. Once completed, the purchase will go to the Suffolk County Legislature for final approval. Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport) said Tuesday that he expected it to go to a vote in the next month or two.

The county, pending legislative approval, will pay 50 percent of the cost, or $3 million. The town and alliance will each pay 25 percent, $1.5 million. The nonprofit organization has been awarded a reimbursable $500,000 state grant and $35,000 more from the 1772 Foundation.

The land alliance also wants to purchase a $2.5 million, 4-acre lot, which would be part of the preserve -- bringing it up to about 32 acres. Ott said the alliance has about $2 million left to raise for both lots.

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said there is very little waterfront left in the town and that most of it has been developed.

"We are really protecting surface water, groundwater and protecting a very precious nature preserve," Spencer said.

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