Gardiner Property Eyed for Preservation

The open space plans for both the village and town recommend the property for acquisition
If East Hampton Town and Village acquire the 3.7-acre Gardiner home lot on James Lane, most of the property will be maintained as an open and agricultural setting. Morgan McGivern

If the East Hampton Village Board gets its collective wish, the Gardiner home lot at 36 James Lane, a 3.7-acre parcel that was put up for sale by Olney Mairs Gardiner last fall, will be purchased by the Town of East Hampton using the community preservation fund. The board voted unanimously to make that request of the town at its organizational meeting on Monday.

The open space plans for both the village and town recommend the property for acquisition. According to the resolution adopted by the board, Mr. Gardiner, who is known as Bill, has accepted an offer for the parcel. The town board is expected to hold a public hearing on the purchase in August.

Claimed by Lion Gardiner in 1648, the Gardiner home lot is adjacent to the South End Cemetery, where Mr. Gardiner is buried, and Town Pond. The parcel contains the historic Gardiner Windmill, dating to 1804, and an 18th-century timber-frame mill cottage. Also on the lot are a 2,700-square-foot house built in 1750 and a newer, 3,500-square-foot house.

According to the resolution, the Gardiner home lot is one of the most significant historic properties in the village. Should the town acquire the property, the mill cottage will be restored and the remainder of the property maintained as an open and agricultural setting. The windmill was deeded to the village in 1996 and restored.

The board, said Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., “is excited about this potential purchase.” Ten percent of the preservation fund, which receives money from a 2-percent real estate transfer tax, is allocated to the village, the mayor said. “The town will make that final determination, but I can assure you that your board has been working with the town board and the C.P.F. committee. We hope that it comes to fruition, and we’re excited about that,” he said. The village would remain the steward of the property, the mayor said, because it is within its boundaries.

Hugh King, the village historian, applauded the resolution. “Great move,” he said.

In other news from the meeting, the board scheduled a public hearing for July 31 on a proposed code amendment that would limit parking to two hours between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the north side of Newtown Lane, heading west from the Cooper Lane intersection. On the same day, the board will hold a hearing on a proposed addition to the code that would prohibit the feeding of wildfowl in designated areas.

The board reappointed chairmen, chairwomen, and members to the design review board, the planning board, the zoning board of appeals, and the ethics board. Mr. King was reappointed as village historian.

Typically, the board schedules a work session for the first Thursday of each month, but it did not hold one last Thursday. At a special meeting held on July 1, the mayor announced that there will be no work session this month.