Jay Jacobs, the developer behind a plan to create a summer day camp on Majors Path in North Sea, said this week that he has no interest in selling his land to Southampton Town for preservation purposes, despite requests from neighboring residents for the town to buy the parcel.
Southampton Town Community Preservation Fund Manager Mary Wilson said her department sent Mr. Jacobs an outreach letter in mid-October to see if he was willing to sell the land, but that the town had not heard back from him. The 17-acre parcel of land was added to the Community Preservation Fund Project Plan in 2001, Ms. Wilson said, long before Mr. Jacobs purchased the land in 2010.
Residents who live near Mr. Jacobs’s 17-acre property have opposed his application to create a large day camp on the site near Little Fresh and Big Fresh ponds. If approved, the camp could ultimately attract an enrollment of 350 to 400 children, and 60 counselors who would live on the grounds. Neighbors have argued that the project could pollute nearby Little Fresh Pond and Big Fresh Pond, and create other stresses on the neighborhood, and some have lobbied the town to purchase the land through the CPF.
Mr. Jacobs, who is also the chairman of both the New York State Democratic Committee and the Nassau County Democratic Committee, said on Monday he was concerned about the appropriateness of selling the property to the town. He purchased the property for $7.65 million in 2010, but total costs incurred were closer to $11 million, he said, including closing costs, taxes, engineering and legal costs.
“So for the town to buy it and make me whole, it would have to look as though we have gotten quite a profit,” Mr. Jacobs said. “Given my position in politics—something that the opponents of this project have been referring to regularly—it would certainly not look good for the town to be paying me what could only look like a large profit, even though it isn’t on the sale of that land.”
He added that if the town truly were interested in preserving the land, officials should approve his application to create a day camp on the property—which is zoned for half-acre residential, and could accommodate as many as 37 condos without a variance.
“I think the best thing the town could do would be to approve the project,” he said. “And that would be the best preservation investment they can make, because my point has always been we’re preserving the open space better than the next best alternative, which is residential housing.”