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Commack BOE Takes Action to Claim Property Rights Over Marion Carll Farm

The district is asking for the lawsuit brought forth by the former owner's heirs be dismissed, so that a decision on what to do with the property can be made.

Action was taken by the Commack Board of Education Thursday to claim legal rights over the Marion Carll Farm, which has been in limbo since March 2012, when Carll's heirs sued the district for not using the property as stipulated in the Marion Carll will. 

At a Board of Education meeting that night, Superintendent Donald James read a statement, explaining that the board unanimously authorized the district’s attorneys to dismiss the heirs’ complaint and asked the judge to grant the district the clear title to the property. 

The nine-acre historic farm property, which dates back to 1701, was granted to the Commack School District in 1968 through Carll’s will, which specified the property to be used for a historical museum and an educational farm. 

From 1990 to 2000, Western Suffolk BOCES used the land for educational and farming classes, but when that ended, Carll’s hopes for the property never came to fruition. 

The district attempted to sell the farm in 2010 to Holiday Corp/Hamlet, but residents voted the sale down. There is now a fence surrounding the property, blocking it off from public access. 

Currently off-limits to residents, Carll's heirs sued the district last year, citing that the school district failed to adequately upkeep and use the property for educational and public purposes. 

At a school board meeting in October, trustee James Tampellini proposed creating of a committee of volunteers to come up with ideas of what to do with property. Some thoughts that have come out include restoring the property to become a public park, or be put up for sale to take the burden of the property’s upkeep off of the school district’s plate. 

However, potential action on the farm is being halted by the lawsuit, which has not progressed. The board is now asking the court to dismiss the heir’s suit so that it can move forward with solutions for the property. 

“The BOE unanimously authorized our attorneys to make a motion to amend the district’s answer and requested a summery judgment dismissing the heirs’ complaint, granting the district, among other things, the clear title to the property. If the motion is granted, the district will be in a position to move forward with finding options to deal with the property –options that are acceptable to both the district and the community at large,” James said.

The superintendent said that it will likely take several months for a judge to make a decision on the property.

“There’s still obviously more to come,” he said.

MJS December 13, 2013 at 07:22 PM
As I recall Mr. Tampellini wrote about this when the suit was first filed in 2012. http://commack.patch.com/groups/jim-tampellinis-blog/p/bp--what-is-the-commack-school-district-doing-with-th7489a2c53e. I'm sure its no coincidence that he was elected to the Board and now this is finally happening. We can't stop here though, more changes are needed. Let's all hope Wunsch and Masciello are not re-elected next year so that more can be accomplished.
* December 13, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Quite the contray. Let's hope they are reelected. BOE MCF issues are being addressed in a new light. Wunsch and Masciello have been pro active with the below: Donegan Jay 1 hour ago Inner circle of the Commack higher powers. My sister Patrizia, Past PTA President, assured me of the "possibilities" MCF will be used for Green School Education. Incorporating Math & Science Discovery Program, the Environmental program for the academics of the students and to enjoy the MCF. This is a move in the right direction for our Commack BOE. Carole Klement Huxel Arthur Reilly Kim Jannelli Janice Richman Bruce Behrens Patricia Behrens Dina Maccaro Confredo Joanne Poveromo Thank you for driving me and picking me up in your PJ's - you're the best! Debi Maier Amy Pellicane http://commack.patch.com/groups/schools/p/commack-boe-takes-action-to-claim-property-rights-over-marion-carll-farm Dear Mr. Donegan, Please know that your "proposal" was shared with the BOE who will take it under consideration. As mentioned at the Board meeting, there are matters at hand that may impede any expeditious resolution. However, I would like you to know that we truly appreciate the time and energy put forth by you and your sister as you considered ideas that would support a resolution to the Marion Carll Property dilemma as well as support the academic program of the students of Commack. Sincerely, Donald James
Retired December 13, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Mr. Donegan, no offense but you are sadly mistaken if you think Wunsch and Masciello will ever do anything with MC farm. They have been on the BOE for years and never did a goddamn thing with it. Besides, where would the money coming from for your "green school education" idea? Hate to pop your bubble but it ain't just gonna happen..
* December 14, 2013 at 06:56 AM
Mr. Retired, Wunsch and Masciello thankless position has been and is presently "pro active." You, Sir have been a commentator on BOE for years. What have you contributor to BOE for a remedy on MCF? ie: 'My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.' John F. Kennedy On the Cormack Growing Up Green School proposal model: http://www.gugcs.org/ What can "you" contribute and how do you propose where the money can be "coming from?" Mr. Donegan and Mrs. Voskovitch have already had their BOE 3 minutes. The BOE has been waiting for your constructive 3 minutes, for years, can you step up to the next BOE meeting podium and be constructive instead of snarky and combative? The vision is on saving MCF not dividing BOE and the Commack community.
Gloria Honigmann Rubin December 20, 2013 at 11:27 AM
As a friend f the family, I have been around many discussions regarding this property. Does anyone understand the basic facts?? 1. MC left the farm to CSD for a specific purpose. 2. CSD Stopped utilizing the farm for these purposes in 2000. 3. The CSD has not maintained the structure. As a result the interior and historical contents within are damaged. The property is restricted, no one is permitted access unless they go through CSD. I'm sure CSD won't acknowledge this never mind allow anyone in to see its condition. 4. What's right is right. CSD didn't fulfill their responsibilities and it's only after the 2012 lawsuit by MC's heirs that they are even thinking about what to do with this. They had 12 years. CSD failed. Give back the property.
Friendofthefarm December 20, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Had to chuckle when I read about Wunch and Masciello. Those two bananas can take NO credit for anything related to the farm other than purposely neglecting it and causing by their own estimates millions of dollars of damage to the historic treasure over their 15 year tenure. To announce that they will not defend against a frivolous lawsuit, to then do as much then wait more than a year to file the most basic of motions and you want to give them accolades? Only continued pressure by the community on the not so dynamic duo will save the farm. The farm was willed to COMMACK and COMMACK residents shall have their farm!! Wunch and Masciello can find some other hobby once they are voted out of office in 5 months. If not for the fortitude of Commacks residents, this historic property would have already been bulldozed with the blessing and as orchestrated by Wunch and Masciello - not one iota of credit is due them!
S.Kuefner December 21, 2013 at 01:15 PM
This is what we do in Commack. Get rid of anything historic,sell it off for quick money. The First High school in Commack is now Fridays,the Burr Mansion property sold and broken up for new houses. We could have bought the house for a museum but chose to sell it and put on tax rolls. The Sprague property,the first thoughbred race track and breeding farm in the country. The Smith house was thankfully save and trucked to Smithtown and we still have Hoyt Farm House. I've been in the MC Farm and it was a marvel, wild fox ran through the property before the golf course and even after. It felt like a different century and very educational to even myself as a teen.

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