Bistrians Say Amagansett Farm Preservation Is In Jeopardy, Will Press For Development - 27 East

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Bistrians Say Amagansett Farm Preservation Is In Jeopardy, Will Press For Development

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author on Dec 20, 2016

The Bistrian family says that negotiations with East Hampton Town officials for the preservation of a large tract of Amagansett farmland have again reached an impasse, and that the family is going to begin pursuing development plans.

Bonnie Krupinski, one of four siblings in the eldest generation of the family, said by email last week that the family is “evaluating a number of options,” as to how it will proceed now that, she said, the negotiations for preservation appear to have ground to a halt.

In a message earlier in the week, Ms. Krupinski said that the town’s latest offer had been $22 million for the development rights of all 30 acres—an amount that she said was some $10.5 million below what the family’s appraiser had determined the development rights are worth.

“It has always been our desire to maintain this as farmland and undeveloped, as it has been for the past 50 years under family ownership, similar to what we have done with other farmland we have owned,” Ms. Krupinski said in an email on Thursday, December 15. “However, the vast disparity in the offered price and appraised price is far too great.”

The town, as per policy, has not made public its own independent appraisals. If it were to use Community Preservation Fund money to purchase the property, as would be expected, the town is obliged to pay no more than roughly what its appraisers say the land or the development rights are worth.

Supervisor Larry Cantwell confirmed this week that the town had, indeed, made an offer for the purchase of development rights from the land about two weeks ago. The town, he said, had ordered two independent appraisals of the Bistrians’ land and that both were “far from what the family feels the land is worth.”

He said that he is hopeful the land can still be preserved, but the disparity in the positions of the two sides does not cast a lot of hope for that outcome.

“My preference would be that it is preserved and protected from development,” Mr. Cantwell said. “With that goal in mind, you never walk away. But given the difference in value between what the town believes and what the family believes, it’s hard to be encouraged.”

The first course of action for the family would, presumably, have to be to press forward with threatened legal action seeking to compel the town to create a road access to the property, which is landlocked except where it borders the main municipal parking lot in the hamlet.

In a letter to the Town Board in August, an attorney representing the Bistrians said that part of the agreement by which the family effectively gifted the 2 acres of land that became the municipal parking lot was the creation of a roadway that snaked through the property, with an outlet onto Windmill Lane, which borders the western edge of the farm field.

Mr. Cantwell, however, reiterated doubts raised by town officials earlier this year that the land where the Bistrians say the road should cut between private homes on Windmill Lane is usable for such a purpose.

“They’re going to have to prove,” the supervisor said, “that they have the rights they think they have.”

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