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Source: Riverhead Patch

Environmentalists Applaud Voters' Approval of CPF Extension

The green light means a portion of the funds will be used for water quality improvements on the East End.

BY LISA FINN (PATCH STAFF)

Posted: November 17, 2016
Originally Published: November 10, 2016

RIVERHEAD, NY — Environmentalists applauded East End voters who gave the green light on Election Day to extend the Community Preservation Fund until 2050 — and to allow for towns to designate up to 20 percent of those funds toward water quality improvements.

Residents of the five East End towns voted "yes" on Proposal 1 on Election Day, with 75 percent of Riverhead voters in favor of the proposition, 80 percent in Southold, 70 percent on Shelter Island, 80 percent in Southampton and 78 percent in East Hampton.

Since its inception, the two percent real estate transfer tax has helped to preserve more than 10,000 acres of open space and farmland from development on the East End.

Under the new proposition, up to $700 million could be raised toward water quality improvements, the Clean Water and Community Preservation Committee said.

“We are so pleased that East End residents once again overwhelmingly support the Community Preservation Fund,” sKevin McDonald, conservation finance and policy director for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island, said in a release. “Now is the time to take steps to address water quality here. It’s absolutely vital for our health and our economy. This measure will fund new technologies and practices that will reduce the amount of nitrogen entering our local waters. It will help residents and businesses replace polluting septic systems and cesspools with new denitrifying systems.”

Assemblyman Fred Thiele added, "The voters of the Peconic Bay Region have spoken. By overwhelming margins, all five East End Towns have told us they want clean water and they want action now. . . More still needs to be done. This vote sends a strong message to county, state and federal government leaders that they must also step up and partner with us on this issue."

"On Election Day, every East End resident won a major victory with the passage of the expanded Community Preservation Fund," said Bob DeLuca, president of the Group for the East End.

"However you might feel about yesterday's election, you have to feel great about the lop-sided support for extension and expansion of the Community Preservation Fund. The East End is a very special place," said Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society.

"The Community Preservation Fund is the most successful preservation program in the history of the East End. It has been the cornerstone of land conservation and protecting community character for the last 30 years. The public has once again decisively spoken loud and clear to elected officials to save our water and land resources," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.


“I am delighted that my fellow Shelter Islanders once more rose to the occasion and approved this critically important initiative to assist in the all important task of insuring adequate amounts of high quality water on our island for generations to come," said Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Dougherty.

And, added Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, “I am very happy to see that Riverhead residents continue to support our rich heritage of agriculture and the preservation of our natural resources by voting for the extension of the Community Preservation Fund. This is not only a win for our environment, it is a win for our economy.”

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell has mentioned over the last few months that he was confident that the measure would be approved by a three to one vote. "I am not surprised. The people of Southold have always been supportive of efforts to protect the environment and preserve open space."