It’s hardly breaking news to say that the East End of Long Island is a special place. Our beaches are among the world’s most beautiful and our farms are the most productive in the state. Our waters are full of world-renowned fish and our vines produce rave reviewed wines. It sounds like we’re bragging, but really, we’re just relaying facts. Which is why we’re voting yes on Proposal 1, the Community Preservation Fund (CPF), this November — to keep it that way.
Over the past two decades, the CPF has protected over 10,000 acres of open space, farmland, and wildlife habitats from development. Funded by a 2% tax on the buyers of real estate transactions, the CPF plays an important role in our otherwise development-happy region, preserving the open spaces that make the East End so attractive. Proposal 1 will simply extend the CPF through 2050 and create a new category to help protect water quality.
“I’m definitely voting yes on Proposal 1,” says Noah Schwartz, chef-owner of the Edible favorite restaurant Noah’s in Greenport. “I naturally look at it from a chef’s perspective. Preserving open spaces helps protect agriculture and water quality. For me, it’s a no-brainer. We serve a lot of oysters directly from the bay. We take stuff right out of the bay and put it onto dinner plates on a regular basis. To find out that the water, air, or land from which we’re getting our products is contaminated? It’s the worst thing. So, for me, from a food-producing standpoint, there’s really just no question.”
There’s no question from the nature lover’s perspective either. The CPF will protect our region’s natural landscape for future generations so our children and grandchildren can enjoy the natural areas, parks, wildlife and beaches we so adore right now. The CPF will also preserve an important part of our cultural identity by helping to protect our working family farms. Not only are these farms an essential part of our economy, but they’re an indispensable chapter in the story of what we do and who we are.
“You can’t overestimate how important this is,” says Schwartz. “It’s important to every single one of us. I know a lot of North Fork food-producing people who are big supporters of the Community Preservation Fund. Russ McCall, especially, is a huge supporter of it. The truth is: we can’t afford not to be. Everything we love about the East End is at stake.”
Of course, Schwartz is right. Love the abundance you see at every East End farm stand? The CPF will make it possible for young farmers to get started while allowing family farmers to continue doing what they’ve so beautifully done for generations. Love the open green spaces you see on either side of you while driving down Sound Avenue? The CPF will stop developers from coming in and destroying the view and, with it, our ecosystem. Love our world renowned beaches? Voting yes on Proposal 1 means investing in our water quality.
Proposal 1 will allow 20% of the CPF to be used to preserve water quality and to stop water pollution in the future. We’ve all seen firsthand what brown tides can do in the Shinnecock and Peconic Bays; renewing the CPF will help stop the water pollution that threatens our way of life and economy.
“I’m a huge proponent of the CPF,” says Schwartz. “Preservation is the best investment we can make for our future. Nothing has a greater return.”
To learn more about the Community Preservation Fund, visit longislandcleanwaterpartnership.org/cpf.