December 10, 2012 – The Open Space Institute and the town of Warwick today formalized the transfer of conservation easements that will permanently preserve the viability of two farms in the Orange County town.
OSI acquired easements on the Hampton Hills and Bazylevsky farms earlier this year, and today’s transfer to the town means both will be preserved in perpetuity.
“Both Hampton Hills and the Bazylevsky farm will continue as working farms, adding to the over 3,000 acres preserved through the town’s Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program,” Warwick Town Supervisor Mike Sweeton said.
Hampton Hills, which sits in the nationally renowned “black dirt” region, a 14,000-acre expanse of deep, rich soils that stretch across five towns, is the second of three farms OSI has protected in Orange County in the last two years. In May 2011, OSI acquired an easement protecting the 120-acre Wright Farm, a family farm adjacent to one of Warwick’s oldest orchards, the Applewood Orchard.
The 122-acre Bazylevsky property, known as Rabbit Run Farm, is located in the hamlet of Bellvale, where it is adjacent to two of the largest protected farms in town. Along with the Hampton Hills Farm, Bazylevsky was protected with funds from Warwick’s Community Preservation Act, which was approved by voters in 2006.
“OSI salutes the town of Warwick, which has become a conservation leader in Orange County,” said Terrence Nolan, OSI’s vice president for Conservation Transactions. “We look forward to working with the town on future opportunities to preserve important agricultural landscapes like the Hampton Hills and Bazylevsky farms.”
Another partner in the project, the Orange County Land Trust, has been entrusted with third-party enforcement power, which ensures that the terms of the conservation easement will be followed.
“The Orange County Land Trust is thrilled to partner with the Open Space Institute and the town of Warwick on the conservation and stewardship of these important farms” said Jim Delaune, Orange County Land Trust’s executive director. “It is a wonderful opportunity for both organizations to work with the town on our common goals of preserving these lands which provide a sense of place and provide for real economic development in Orange County. The preservation of these farms is an example of how many individuals, foundations and private and public organizations are working together for the benefit of our communities, and we are pleased to be a part of this important farmland initiative.”
Despite increasing development pressure, agriculture continues to be one of the leading industries in Orange County. The 2007 Census of Agriculture found that 642 farms, which make up 16 percent of the county’s land area, accounted for 73.7 million in gross sales. There are some 400 farms in the town of Warwick alone.
“We are thrilled to have established a solid relationship with such a renowned leader in land preservation like OSI,” Supervisor Sweeton added. “We look forward to partnering with them on future farm projects which is consistent with our successful strategy of leveraging our money with that of others to reach our Community Preservation Plan goals.”