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District Votes to Sell Property Development Rights; Plans New Bus Barn

Development rights of 25 acres in Aquebogue could be sold to county.

The Riverhead Board of Education voted unanimously on Tuesday night to sell the development rights on 25 acres of Aquebogue land to Suffolk County for $1.325 million.

The land, located on Tuthills Lane in Aquebogue near the Aquebogue Elementary School, will be preserved as farmland under the Suffolk County New Drinking Water Protection Program, should the county approve the purchase.

After the vote, BOE president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse said the district had opted to hold two acres of the 27 acre parcel back from the sale. That way, she said, if a farmer wishes to purchase the land, they would have room to erect a farmhouse.

"If we sold the whole 27 acres, he couldn't build a barn," she said.

A new committee is being formed to evaluate what to do with proceeds from the sale, Cotten-DeGrasse said; one option is to relocate the bus garage to a new site and make the current school property only an educational complex.

The thought was discussed when the district bonded last year, but in the end, the BOE held off. "Ideally, we would like to move the garage off into another location," Cotten-DeGrasse said.

The new committee will look at a number of possible new locations for the bus garage and report their findings back to the BOE.

The sale, Cotten-DeGrasse said, is a win-win for everyone, including residents who wanted to see the land preserved. "This keeps everybody happy," she said.

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