Housing planned for farmland in Southampton
The proposed site of Pleasant View Estates, a 10-home subdivision planned by Chester and Susan Kellogg, is at the center of this aerial photograph. COURTESY OF THE TOWN OF SOUTHAMPTON. Purchase photo reprints »
SOUTHAMPTON — A 10-home subdivision proposed for a 30-acre piece of Pleasant Street farmland has gotten preliminary approval from the Planning Board, but one Conservation Commission member is hoping to find a way to preserve the property.
Chester and Susan Kellogg, who bought the 87-acre property from Dry Hollow Farm owners George and Candice Gunn in December for $750,000, submitted their plans in April for Pleasant View Estates.
The Kelloggs aim to build 10 homes along a 1,000-foot-long cul-de-sac across the street from their 90 Pleasant St. home.
It is a cluster development, which means the homes are close together on 9.9 acres and 18.5 acres will be left as farmland, Chester Kellogg said.
“There’s room there for 18 or 20 houses,” Kellogg said. “But this way some of the land will be kept as protected farmland. I think it’s the best option.”
But Conservation Commission member Arthur Lawrence said he has contacted several conservation trusts to see if any could help the town exercise it’s right to purchase the 30-acre parcel first.
“It’s probably one of the most beautiful parts of Southampton, and I’d like to see it stay the way it is,” he said of the land, which is mostly a hayfield with some woods. “But coming up with $750,000 is kind of hard for the town.”
The land is in the state’s Chapter 61 current use program, which restricts it for agricultural, logging or recreational uses while giving the owners a significant tax break.
Under state law, before land can be taken out of the program, the municipality has 120 days to decide whether it will purchase it instead to preserve as open space.
Lawrence said that the Kestrel Land Trust in Amherst has expressed interest in learning more about the project and how it could help the town with it.
If the town passes on the right of first refusal and the land is developed, the landowner is required to pay the difference in taxes that were not assessed for the preceding four years, according to the law.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.