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Sold! So what’s next for the Kaplan Farm?

NORTH EAST — The farmland on Route 22 in North East/Millerton that was owned for many years by Sam Kaplan and his father before him has been for sale for so many years that Linda Kaplan has lost track.

But however long it’s been since her late husband’s family farm was put up on the market, she said she’s just thankful that it finally sold.

“Yes, I’m mostly relieved,” she said on Friday morning, June 4, after word had spread around town that all three parcels of the former Joseph Kaplan and Sons, Inc., Dairy Farm had been sold to NML LLC, which is registered in New York City. “Oh goodness, it’s probably, I don’t know, 10, 15, 20 years [that it’s been for sale].” 

Her husband, Sam, died in 2017.

The three parcels are south of the village of Millerton at 5681-5705 Route 22, across from the Harney Tea factory and near Silamar Farm.

The buildings include a small concrete building, a small residence, a red barn with fading paint and a similarly aged white Victorian-style residence, whose white paint has largely turned black. 

In total, according to the website for real estate agency Douglas Elliman, the property is 466 acres. 

Kaplan said she sold the farm as two separate parcels, to two separate buyers in two separate transactions: 148 acres on McGhee Hill Road sold in April and the larger more visible property, on Route 22, sold in November.

Both buyers were from New York City, Kaplan said. “I never got to meet them. In these days of COVID-19, the closings were done by the attorneys, and the papers were signed ahead of time by both parties.”

While she didn’t want to disclose the selling price, Kaplan did say she got what she asked for on one of the sales, and close to what she asked for on the other.

The real estate website Trulia says the property, which dates to 1888, sold in November 2020 for $2,375,000. 

When asked if she was satisfied with the way things turned out, she said absolutely.

“Yes, I was surprised, to so quickly have one offer after another. I had hoped for that, because so much was selling around here,” she said, adding she thinks the COVID-19 pandemic was a motivating factor in hastening the pace of the sales. 

Fears of development

Not everyone is as happy as Linda Kaplan about the sale, which has led to concerns that a large-scale residential development is being planned for the property.

North East town Supervisor Chris Kennan said he had heard rumors surrounding the farm’s sale and future but could only confirm the sale itself as he “didn’t want to traffic in rumors.”

He did verify an LLC purchased the Kaplan Farm, which he said troubles him.

“The problem with an LLC, is that people’s identities are not known,” explained Kennan. “I have a real problem with this. I have no problem with people having an LLC; it’s not having the LLC, it’s just that I hate that people should be anonymous.”

Linda Kaplan appeared before the North East Planning Board in October 2020 after submitting a minor subdivision application that July. 

That application was described as “no big deal” at the time by Planning Board Chairman Dale Culver, who said at the time that “the land is cleaved by two different roads already … there isn’t even a line to draw really, in some sense, because the road is the line delineation.”

As for what the new owners’ plans may be for the properties, Kaplan again said she doesn’t have any first-hand information from the buyers. She has heard that one buyer may pursue “organic farming on the tillable land on the main farm and 49 acres” and another may build some homes on the McGhee Hill Road parcel. 

When asked how many homes, Kaplan said she heard from neighbors around three or four.

“I think it would make Sam very happy to see the land remain in farming, and me, too,” she said.

Yet there is talk in the community that one of the buyers may develop one of the parcels into a housing development, with as many as 43 homes. When Kaplan was asked if she heard any talk of such plans, she scoffed at the idea.

“Oh, no, absolutely not,” she said.

Kennan, meanwhile, confirmed there are currently “no applications in front of the Planning Board; that I can tell you. I think it would be long time” before any type of large housing development could be planned or executed, he added. 

The land is zoned for agricultural and residential use.

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