Development rights for Tilden Lane Farm in Greenlawn have been acquired by Suffolk County, Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson announced Thursday.
The farm has been operating since 1793.
That acquistion means that the property will continue to operate as a privately owned farm but nothing else. “On each farm is a bundle of rights,” Sarah Lansdale, Suffolk County’s director of planning, said. ” Rights to farm it, rights to build a house. And what we do is buy the development rights so they are no longer be able to build a house or develop it commercially or industrially. They’ll only be able to farm.They’re still retaining the ownership. It’s still on the tax rolls but they’re able to farm forever.”
Suffolk’s development rights program to preserve farmland began in 1974.
The Tilden property is one of 48 acquistions closed since 1998, Cuthbertson said, and preserves farmland and agricultural jobs.
“The Tilden farm will remain a working farm, thanks to the partnership between the town and the county, who worked together on a 50-50 basis to purchase the development rights to this 13.69 acre farm,” Cuthbertson said.
Bruce Tilden, the current owner of the farm, said it was named a bicentennial farm in 1976 in recognition of its historical roots.
“My wife, Jeanne, and I look forward to continuing our farming tradtion. My kids and grandkids are the seventh and eighth generation.” In addition to growing Christmas trees, the farm has strawberries and beehives and partners with a farmer who grows vegetables.
Others participating in the press conference Thursday included Larry Foglia, Suffolk County Farm Committee representative, August Ruckdeschel, Suffolk County farmland and Open Space coordinator, Council members Ed Smyth, Joan Cergol and Gene Cook, and supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci.