the Overton Property
of enviromental and civic organizations calls for the protection
of open space in Coram, Gordon Heights, Medford area
The Overton, or Coram
Ponds Preserve consists of woodlands, wetlands, and meadows that
stretch for four hundred and fifty acres miraculously undeveloped
This property is a
natural treasure which overlies the source of some of the Island's
purest drinking water.
The triangle, bordered
by Route 112 to the west, Granny Road to the south and Mill Road
to the east, boasts endangered species, rolling topography of
the Ronkonkoma moraine, and a past steeped in Revolutionary and
Native American actions history.
The NY Natural Heritage
program lists the Overton Triangle as containing 4 ponds, wetlands,
and an oak-pine heath. The New York State endangered tiger salamander
breeds in three of four of the vernal ponds found in the southern
portion of the triangle. The triangle is home to a large variety
of animals including: bobwhites, scarlet tanagers, and myriad
Further, these lands,
possess great importance as open space and serve as a crucial
piece to a much larger greenbelt system.
The triangle is the
largest significant area of pine barrens outside of the core preserve.
According to tradition
the name of Coram was taken from the Indian Wincoram who lived
in the area known as Coram hills, where the Overton Property is
now located, until May 1703.
Two of the earliest
colonial settlers to this triangle were the Reverend Noah Hammond
who built the first Baptist church and ran a school in his home
in the northern section of the triangle. David Overton built his
home around 1740 at the south end of the triangle.
As the storm clouds
of the Revolution approached these men and their sons became patriots
supporting the American cause. In 1780 it came to General George
Washington's attention that the British had stored 300 tons
of hay at Coram to be used by the British Cavalry. In one of the
most daring exploits of the Revolution in Brookhaven Town General
Washington in a letter to Benjamin Tallmadge ordered the hay destroyed,
and approved the capture of Fort St. George at Smith Point.
The Americans led
by Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge marched up David Overton Road passing
the Overton Farm. Overton's youngest son, Nehemiah, joined the
group and according to family tradition, was the first to set
the hay afire.
The Overton Property
is located in Hydrogeological Zone III (which contains Long Island's
highest quality ground water and was recommended in Suffolk County's
SGPA Plan for special protection) and is in a Special Groundwater
Protection Area (SGPA).
Despite its crucial
importance to our drinking water, real estate developers have
proposed 5 separate developments which will carve up and decimate
the area. To add insult to injury the Town of Brookhaven has approved
the transfer of 210 additional units to the property.
The Neighborhood Network
is working with a coalition of environmental and civic groups
to protect the Overton property. The proposed means for preserving
this site include outright acquisition, conservation easements,
and planning that would transfer density from the preserve to
appropriate centers of growth.
The vision from the
Coalition for acquisition includes leveraged funding through partnerships
between the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, New York State,
and various private sources. The design for the Preserve includes
maintaining wild lands, retaining secret, unexplored corners --
surprises of nature, returning Overton Road to its former rustic
value, weaving sites of history while preserving habitat for endangered
and diminishing species of plants and animals.
A working colonial farm and visitor center is envisioned at a
former farm to the north of Overton Road, which links the 450
acres to the south with more than three hundred acres of county-owned
wetlands and woods to the north, and ultimately, to the Town of
Brookhaven's historic Davis House. These eight hundred acres
ultimately link up with other surrounding greenbelts to the north
What You Can Do
Please call or write State, County and Town officials. Urge them
to pursue a joint plan for preservation by acquisition. Call or
NEW YORK STATE
Governor George Pataki
Albany,New York 12224
Click here for State
County Executive Gaffney
P.O. Box 6100
100 Vets Hwy. Building
Legislator Brian Foley
27 Havens Ave.
Patchogue, NY 11772
TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN
Supervisor John J. LaValle
3233 Rte. 112
Medford, NY 11763