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Sun., Aug. 30
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Portaferry lots are selling


PITCAIRN — Land First, which bought the former Camp Portaferry from the Boy Scouts, has sold six of the 20 lots of a subdivision.

The Lacona land company has eight lots left on the market. It plans to keep three lots for its company’s use and might develop another three lots into seasonal rentals with small cabins.

“That’s more down the line, if at all,” Executive Vice President Jacob M. Basta said.

Land First had an open house at the property several weeks ago to show off how it had subdivided some of its nearly 400 acres into lots with an average size of five to 10 acres.

“We built roads or improved existing roads,” Mr. Basta said. “It’s been something special to do. I couldn’t be happier.”

Land First bought the 388-acre camp in the towns of Pitcairn and Fine for $487,500 last year from the Longhouse Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which had first tried selling it to a hunting club and later as part of the Army’s Compatible Use Buffer program.

Town of Fine Supervisor Mark C. Hall, who spent many a summer as a youngster at the camp where his grandfather was the ranger until 1984, went to the open house.

“I did attend out of curiosity,” he said. “It was interesting to see how they had done it.”

Mr. Hall said the lots are long and thin, giving each waterfront frontage. Some have lodges that remain from the property’s days under the Boy Scouts.

“I would have loved to see it stay Camp Portaferry forever, but it’s America,” Mr. Hall said. “I’m sure it’s going to be a benefit for Pitcairn.”

All of the subdivided portion of the property is in the town of Pitcairn. The sale of the lots and any houses that are built on them will add to the town’s assessed valuation. The property was tax-exempt when it was operated as a camp by the Scouts.

So far, the lots have sold for $107,000 and up, Mr. Basta said.

One of the early purchasers of one of the lots already has a house started.

The effect on the town of Fine will be minimal as the camp’s land within its borders is not lakefront and not as valuable, Mr. Hall said.

The land in Fine is in the Adirondack Park, while that in Pitcairn is not, making it easier to build.

“It’s one of the reasons it’s such an advantage, but it still has the cachet of being in the Adirondacks,” Mr. Basta said.

He said he was not surprised the lots have sold quickly.

“We’ve done our research,” Mr. Basta said. “I would think we’d be sold out soon.”

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