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.