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By Emily J. Weitz | April 19, 2017 | Home & Real Estate
The adjacent farmland makes Sagaponack homes some of the most expensive in the country.
550 Parsonage Lane, listed by Tim Davis at Corcoran, rests on 10 unspoiled acres in Sagaponack.
Sagaponack is listed in Forbes among the top five most expensive zip codes in the country every year. Part of what makes this tiny hamlet so desirable is its proximity to the ocean, so close you can feel the salt on your skin. But the other major asset of this area is the sweeping vistas, made possible by the acres and acres of active farmland. How do we keep these tracts of land in production when the value of a potato or a sunflower can’t hold up to the value of square footage of a Sagaponack mansion?
John Halsey, president of the Peconic Land Trust (296 Hampton Road, Southampton, 631-238-0235), has pondered this question for years, and he’s seen the community come together to preserve farmland and farming traditions even in the face of overwhelming resale value. “At its roots, Sagaponack is an agricultural community with farmlands rolling to the ocean,” says Halsey. “But now you have a range of objectives people have in coming here, and I think it’s a challenge for a community to maintain its soul and at the same time embrace the new.” Pike Farms, on Sagg Main Street in Sagaponack, used to rent its 7.6 acres from the Hopping family.
When in 2010 the Hoppings decided to sell because of the estate taxes they were facing, that land went on the market for $6 million. How could a farmer ever pay those prices? “The community raised over $1 million from a few hundred people,” says Halsey, “and the town and county and Land Trust played important roles in that purchase. We sold the property to the Pikes for around $25,000 an acre.” The only reason this was possible was that the development rights were sold, and the land can and must be used for productive farming. With leg work like this, many of Sagaponack’s wide open expanses can be preserved.
Corcoran broker Tim Davis (88 Main St., Southampton, 631-238-7300) has lived on the East End his whole life, and he feels that Sagaponack is one of the few places where it seems “time stood still.” “The zoning never permitted commercial development, and the Sagaponack General Store and post office were all that were needed to service the rural farm community,” says Davis. “The lack of commercial development allowed for more of an open space and big sky feeling. This is the appeal that continues to attract buyers who love the feeling of wide open landscapes with access to one of the most beautiful ocean beaches in the world.”
HAUTE HABITAT-231 Hedges Lane, Sagaponack
This two-acre property, listed at $16.95 million, overlooks 40 acres of protected land and also has ocean views. “It is a totally custom and unique Hamptons estate—pristine and situated in the southern heart of Sagaponack,” says Susan Breitenbach, a top broker with Corcoran. “It has everything imaginable. No expense was spared.” The gush-worthy amenities include a sunken hydro Har-Tru tennis court, heated gunite pool with hot tub, and a radiant outdoor cooling system to ensure that the bluestone patio is always cool to the touch. 1936 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill, 631-899-0303
The beauty of a Hamptons home comes not just from the architecture and décor but from the space around it. The area’s rich ecosystem allows beautiful plants, native to the region, to grow, and Hamptonites are taking note for landscaping inspiration. “Add trees and shrubs to make a nice contour, so it creates layers in a garden—just like how you see in nature,” says Frederico Azevedo, founder of Unlimited Earth Care (2249 Scuttle Hole Road, 631-725-7551), who suggests using black-eyed Susans and dogwood trees. “Native gardening is very attached to our area, because we mimic what we see in the wild here.”
THE SOURCE: OUTSIDE
The company prides itself on its energy-conscious concepts in building out new pools or restoring old ones. 241 County Road, Southampton, 631-537-5700
This firm works closely with clients, architects, and consultants to create a landscape that matches the modern Hamptons home by working its natural surroundings into every design. Box 268-860 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill, 631-726-1403
Founder Michael Derrig has designed some of the East End’s most memorable projects by sourcing plants from all over the East Coast and using the company’s own tree farm. 103 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton, 631-329-3000
With a Garden Shop, a nursery, and a café, it’s easy to make a day of designing your perfect landscape with the staff. 120 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton, 631-537-3700
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHUTTERSTOCK.COM (FARM); COURTESY OF CORCORAN (BREITENBACH, 231 HEDGES LANE); BRUNO SCHREK (550 PARSONAGE LANE)