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Home, Home On The Range: A Long Island Tradition May Be Coming To An End

Submitted by MiaB

With a multitude of McMansions replacing Levitt homes and mega (shopping) centers springing up all over and taking over landmark mom and pop shops here on Long Island, it seems that another suburban staple way be on its way out.

According to reports, it seems that Montauk’s Deep Hollow Ranch slated locally as the oldest cattle ranch in America, may be up for sale, bringing to and end a multi-generation culture of cattle herding and horse riding.

According to current owners Gardner “Rusty” Leaver and his wife Diane who began working on the ranch back in 1963 and bought it in 1971, though it’s difficult to move on and let go, it’s becoming progressively more and more difficult to keep the property afloat.

As per the Levers, who have leased the property for five generations, the high cost of living, including escalating fuel costs which have impacted the price of hay they purchase from Canada, the feed they secure from Connecticut and the cattle they “import” from Virginia has finally taking it’s toll. And, they suggest that it’s the higher prices have also affected the number of visitors t the ranch, draining the couple financially.

Another consideration is the prevailing legal battle with neighbors over the land that has drained the couple emotionally.

The battle rages on over a subdivision that took place back in 1981 that split the land into four lots creating a 2.78-acre reserve that neighbors are not too happy about.

They, (the neighbors) suggest that they consented to the couple putting up a fence (on their property) and using their land for grazing with the stipulation that they would move the fence upon request; a day that came about in 2004

But, say the neighbors, the Leavers are not willing to abide by the “deal”

Attorneys add that all the neighbors want is for the couple to move the fence (around the land they’ve used for 25 years) to a legal local outside of the reserve area and refrain from using it for grazing.

On the other side of the fence however, the Leavers, armed with letters from various individuals who served on the East Hampton Town board two and a half decades ago, are contesting the move. In fact, the letters state that the land was intended fro grazing and they assert that they need the additional acrage to sufficiently maintain their livestock

And, the debate has turned the neighborhood into the Hatfields and the McCoys.

And, both the Leavers suggest that they being condemned for trying to preserve their way of life by wealthy neighbors who can afford to tie up funds in the court system for years.
So, back in June, the Leavers placed the ranch up or sale for $17 million but suggested that they’d consider reducing the price to a buyer who intended on preserving the tradition and the ranch.

Local News > Home, Home On The Range: A Long Island Tradition May Be Coming To An End

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