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Donor Spotlight | Otis & Nancy Pearsall

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October 29, 2018

By Janet Schutt

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Otis and Nancy Pearsall have been involved in preservation since the 1950s when they began working to pass a Landmarks Law in New York City. Their goal was to get Brooklyn Heights designated as New York City’s first Historic Landmarked District. “Someone always has to take the lead in these things,” says Otis. Lucky for us, they did! There are now 141 historic districts across all five boroughs.

Otis’ ties to the East End began when he was a child. His parents bought property in Bridgehampton in 1928 and built a home there. He spent his summers and vacations there.

Their involvement with the Trust began in 1992. That was the year the Town of Southampton was compelled to reassess all properties throughout the Town. Many landowners were hit with massive property tax increases including the holding company that leased 68 acres of land to the Bridgehampton Club. With the future of the Club hanging in the balance, Otis reached out to John v.H. Halsey at the Trust.

Within two months, a perpetual conservation easement on the property was donated to the Trust, reducing the tax burden to the Club and its members. Then in 1999, the Pearsalls protected a farm field and wetlands that they owned. To date, the Pearsalls have been involved in protecting a total of 73 acres in Bridgehampton!

“It was much more rural with a lot less people and traffic back when I was a child. The Trust is so important because much of what remains the same is because of the Peconic Land Trust,” says Otis.

Otis and Nancy also support the Trust’s Annual Fund. “Once you get that close to an organization and see the good work they do, you stick with it.”

Thank you to Otis and Nancy for all the work you’ve done for conservation and preservation both here and in New York City!