WIDE OPEN SPACES
THE ADJACENT FARMLAND MAKES SAGAPONACK HOMES SOME OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE IN THE COUNTRY. BY EMILY J. WEITZ
The adjacent farmland makes Sagaponack homes some of the most expensive in the country.
Sagaponack is listed in Forbes among the top five most expensive zip codes in the country every year. Part of what makes this tiny hamlet so desirable is its proximity to the ocean, so close you can feel the salt on your skin. But the other major asset of this area is the sweeping vistas, made possible by the acres and acres of active farmland. How do we keep these tracts of land in production when the value of a potato or a sunflower can’t hold up to the value of square footage of a Sagaponack mansion?
John Halsey, president of the Peconic Land Trust (296 Hampton Road, Southampton, 631-2380235; peconiclandtrust .org), has pondered this question for years, and he’s seen the community come together to preserve farmland and farming traditions even in the face of over- whelming resale value.
“At its roots, Sagaponack is an agricultural community with farmlands rolling to the ocean,” says Halsey. “But now you have a range of objectives people have in coming here, and I think it’s a challenge for a community to maintain its soul and at the same time embrace the new.”
Pike Farms, on Sagg Main Street in Sagaponack, used to rent its 7.6 acres from the Hopping family. When in 2010 the Hoppings decided to sell because of the estate
taxes they were facing, that land went on the market for $6 million. How could a farmer ever pay those prices? “The community raised over $1 million from a few hundred people,” says Halsey, “and the town and county and Land Trust played important roles in that purchase. We sold the property to the Pikes for around $25,000 an acre.”
The only reason this was possible was that the development rights were sold, and the land can and must be used for productive farming. With leg work like this, many of Sagaponack’s wide open expanses can be preserved. Corcoran broker Tim Davis (88 Main St., Southampton, 631-238-7300; corcoran .com) has lived on the East End his whole life, and he feels that Sagaponack is one of the few places where it seems “time stood still.”
“The zoning never permitted commercial development, and the Sagaponack General Store and post office were all that were needed to service the rural farm community,” says Davis. “The lack of commercial development allowed for more of an open space and big sky feeling. This is the appeal that continues to attract buyers who love the feeling of wide open landscapes with access to one of the most beautiful ocean beaches in the world.”
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