Establishing the Plan
On June 22, 1998, in a farm field in Southampton, New York, Governor George E. Pataki signed state legislation enabling the five towns within the Peconic Bay region to establish a Community Preservation Fund supported by revenues from a 2% real estate transfer tax. This historic and progressive legislation has given the Town of Southampton a powerful tool to achieve its long-standing farmland, open space, and groundwater protection goals. The Community Preservation Fund facilitates a completely voluntary program whereby landowners can sell their land or the development rights from the land to the Town of Southampton at fair market value.
A Leader in Land Preservation
Since the inception of the Community Preservation Fund in April 1999, it has generated over $384 million and has protected over 3,000 acres of land throughout the town. The Town of Southampton has become a leader in land preservation with the assistance of matching funds from Suffolk County, New York State, and the federal government. An additional $30 million was made available under a state low interest short term loan program further enhancing the town's ability to purchase land in an ever increasing competitive real estate market.
Extending the Fund
This ground-breaking legislation originally had a sunset date of December 2010. The voters of Southampton Town overwhelmingly voted twice to extend the Community Preservation Fund for an additional 20 years to the year 2030. The additional 20 years will allow the town to borrow more money now while critical land is still available and before further real estate price increases. The borrowed money would be paid back later through the life of the Community Preservation Fund with Community Preservation Fund revenues.
The Town of Southampton is authorized to use up to 10% of the annual fund revenue to make "Pilot" payments to special districts such as school, fire, fire protection, and ambulance districts where over 25% of the land in that district is exempt from real property tax due to its ownership by the state or other municipal corporation. The purpose of this payment would be to reduce the real property tax liability of the residents within the qualifying special district.