The Southold Town Board voted Tuesday night to buy the development rights of 22.8 acres of Cutchogue farmland along Main Road and Depot Lane, a move taken to preserve open space.
Southold will pay $60,000 per acre for the development rights, which allow the farm owner to continue to own and work the land but places a covenant on the property so it cannot be sold for development or built upon. The landowner, Lewis L. Edson, will retain five acres for a retail farm stand and home.
The money for the land, which is next to more than 100 acres already acquired by the town and a block away from 600 more preserved by the town and county, will come from the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund. Established for the five East End towns and approved by voter referendum in 1998, the fund is financed by a 2 percent tax on home purchases. The first $150,000 of the sale price is excluded from the tax in Riverhead and on the North Fork; the exclusion is $250,000 on the South Fork and Shelter Island.
To date, more than 6,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land on eastern Long Island have been protected by acquisition, according to the Peconic Land Trust. Each town receives its own funds and is responsible for the purchases.