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News Release    

October 24, 2003


County Executive Sets in Motion Next Step to Preserve Linden Farms

Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has sent a public hearing notice to the Dutchess County Legislature in final preparation for the purchase of development rights on Linden Farms in Red Hook. This 234-acre parcel is located in the “Red Hook Breadbasket,” where approximately 5,500 acres of prime farmland is situated. This area has been designated resource of statewide importance in the State’s open space plan.

“Success is all about partnerships,” said Steinhaus. “This particular purchase is possible because of our historic Dutchess County farmland preservation initiative and the stewardship of Scenic Hudson. They have purchased the development rights on several Red Hook farms and continue to inspire the conservation activity of local landowners, in Red Hook,” he added.

The County’s share of the purchase is estimated at $487,957. This expenditure will bring the County’s commitment of funds to a total of $1,976,673 for eight approved Open Space and Farmland Protection Program acquisitions that protect a total of 1,205 acres of Dutchess resources. County Executive Steinhaus initiated the county’s Open Space and Farmland Protection Matching Grant Fund, the first of its kind in the Hudson Valley, in 1999.

“No one entity can afford to purchase the best remaining farmland in the Hudson Valley,” said Ned Sullivan, Executive Director of Scenic Hudson, “but in this case, County Executive Steinhaus’s Open Space and Farmland Protection Program made a very important purchase possible.”

Scenic Hudson had already insured that a critical mass was achieved by purchasing the development rights on seven farms, for a total of 1,100 acres prior to the Linden Farms deal.

“County participation in this purchase, along with Scenic Hudson, helped to inspire the Town to approve the bond,” added Red Hook Town Supervisor Jack Gilfeather.

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Red Hook voters have overwhelmingly voted to support continued purchase of agricultural development rights by approving a bond of $3,500,000. The bond will be used to match private, State, conservancy and County funds for further important development-rights purchases. When development rights are purchased, the ownership stays with the private landowner, who continues to pay taxes. Once the property is sold, the development restrictions remain on the land. The recently approved bond money will not be used on the Linden Farms purchase of development rights, but it will be made available for future purchases.

“Nothing has been more encouraging to me in my public office responsibilities than what I have seen in Red Hook,” noted Mr. Steinhaus. “The residents of Red Hook are making a good business decision for their Town as they insure its productivity and beauty into the future. Red Hook is an inspiration and it is a model for many other towns in Dutchess County.”

Linden Farms was created as a partnership between Frank Migliorelli and Sal Leone in the late 1960s when they purchased a dairy farm and modernized its operations. The partners now lease the highly-productive lands that abut Linden Avenue and Pitcher Lane to Ken Migliorelli, Owner/Operator of Migliorelli Farms and nephew of Frank Migliorelli. Currently these lands are producing high value crops, including ten acres of tomatoes at 4,000 plantings to the acre. Today Migliorelli Farms is an intensive farming operation devoted to the production of fruits and vegetables, which serve three Greenmarkets in New York City, farmers’ markets in Kingston and Rhinebeck, and a newly-opened fresh market stand at the corner of River Road and Route 199 in Rhinebeck.

“With various funding entities working together, we can anticipate a total of 2,500-3,000 acres being permanently protected in Red Hook within the next few years, said County Planning and Development Commissioner, Roger Akeley. “Red Hook’s reputation as a very special place to live is being enhanced by its bold and imaginative steps to protect its rural environment.”

The Dutchess County Legislature will hold a hearing on the resolution advanced by Mr. Steinhaus on November 12, 2003.

For information, contact William R. Steinhaus, Dutchess County Executive at 845/486-2000, Noela Hooper, Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development at 845/486-3600 or Seth McKee of Scenic Hudson at 845/473-4440.



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