Peconic Land Trust says ‘no’ to Paard Hill

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Paard Hill horse farm’s open space area is running out of takers.

The Peconic Land Trust (PLT) has officially turned thumbs down on an opportunity to take over 28.5 acres of Paard Hill horse farm to preserve as open space.

Now the Town Board of Shelter Island has to decide if the town wants to accept the property, a highly unlikely result, since by contract the public would be denied access to it, but the town would still  be responsible for insurance payments and maintenance costs.

After a meeting of the PLT’s board earlier this week, John Halsey, president of the board, signed an agreement refusing to accept the so-called “open area.”

A deal is imminent for Paard Hill, which in addition to the open area, includes 7.65-acres with a single-family house.

Christopher Kent of the Bridgehampton office of the law firm Farrell Fritz, representing the sellers, Pieter Ruig and Ellen Lear, has said the sale price would be lower than the original asking price of $7.95 million.

A declaration imposes a covenant on the property requiring the open area to be donated to either the Town of Shelter Island or the PLT after the deaths of both Mr. Ruig and Ms. Lear, or  if they subdivide and sell the property’s residential component.

The present deal calls for no further subdivision of the property.

Any future use of the equine facility as a commercial operation is prohibited.

The new buyer can use the open area for private “equestrian of pedestrian purposes.”