Call to Allocate $1 Million From C.P.F. for Restoration

Close to $1 million from East Hampton’s community preservation fund is to be allocated to restoration work at several historic sites this year, according to a draft budget that was the subject of a Jan. 15 town board hearing. Plans for the work were developed by Scott Wilson, the town’s director of land acquisitions and management.

The fund, from a 2-percent real estate transfer tax, is designed to protect or restore historic places and buildings or to return lands to their natural states. The town expects to restore the barns at the former Lester/Labrozzi property at North Main and Cedar Streets in East Hampton, where a farm museum has been created, and at Duck Creek Farm in Springs; $212,000 for each has been included in the budget.

Under state law, up to 10 percent of the community preservation fund can be used for management and stewardship of properties bought with the fund. The proposed budget for 2015 calls for using $982,164 for those purposes, which is projected to be approximately 3.9 percent of the revenue expected in the fund this year.

At Duck Creek, the goal, according to Mr. Wilson, is the creation of a “usable space for the varying needs of the Springs community.”

At a separate Springs property once owned by James Brooks and Charlotte Park, artists associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement, restoration of their house and their studios is planned, with $262,000 allocated for the work.

The 11-acre property was originally purchased as open space, but was tapped as a historic site after a citizens group campaigned for the preservation of the artists’ residence and workspaces. Ultimately, use by the public, particularly for arts-related activities, is envisioned.

Work at all the sites will be done in conjunction with a historic preservation consultant and an engineer, and the town will work with historical societies and other organizations to ascertain appropriate uses. Grants and private funding will be sought, according to the management plan, though the preservation fund is likely to be the primary source of the money.

Also slated for this year is the demolition of structures on the former Whelan property in Northwest, a 5.5-acre parcel purchased this year.  Mr. Wilson has designated an estimated $30,000 for that and to restore disturbed areas of the land.

Structures are also to be removed from two lots purchased, or soon to be acquired, in order to preserve wetlands, one in Northwest and another near Three Mile Harbor; $35,000 is in the budget for that.

The remainder of the proposed management and stewardship budget is designated to cover employees, equipment, and other expenses, including payment to town departments that do restoration or maintenance. Additional money, as yet undetermined, may also be needed to remove invasive species at the South Flora property on Napeague and for meadow restoration at the Fillipelli property in Springs near Accabonac Harbor. Both still require detailed plans and Department of Environmental Conservation approval.

As of the end of November, a total of $284.9 million has flowed into East Hampton’s C.P.F. since its inception in 1999. Last year’s receipts were over $24 million. To date, the town has either purchased outright, or acquired development rights to or interests in, 261 parcels. With the addition of 29 more parcels for which the town is in contract, approximately 1,924 acres will be preserved. The properties include farmland, beaches and shoreline, wetlands, open space and forest, parks and recreation sites, and historic lands and buildings.

In 2014, the Bill Gardiner property off James Lane in East Hampton Village, which will be managed by the village, was acquired. In addition to outright purchases of historic sites, façade easements to protect the traditional appearance of buildings have been acquired at the Wainscott Conklin house, the East Hampton Conklin house, the Schellinger Farm in Amagansett, and the Thomas Moran house in East Hampton Village.

The management and stewardship plan is subject to modification throughout the year, as property conditions or management needs change.