Eminent domain puts part of therapeutic horse farm in Islandia in jeopardy

Pal-O-Mine is a place where animals have a powerful and calming effect on the disabled, abuse victims or those who've witnessed the horrors of war. There's also a garden area that becomes a kind of sanctuary for visitors.

News 12 Staff

Jun 22, 2021, 7:52 PM

Updated 1,034 days ago

Share:

A nonprofit horse farm that provides therapy for people with disabilities, domestic violence survivors and veterans could lose some of its land through eminent domain.
Pal-O-Mine is a place where animals have a powerful and calming effect on the disabled, abuse victims or those who've witnessed the horrors of war. There's also a garden area that becomes a kind of sanctuary for visitors.
Part of the farm is a 1.7-acre parcel that includes some housing for staff members. In recent years, the Village of Islandia has been looking to purchase the property, including through eminent domain. They say they need it for their Public Works Department.
Lisa Gatti, who runs the nonprofit, called it “very frustrating.”
“When you run a nonprofit, especially here on Long Island, owning real estate – it’s very time consuming and any litigation is time consuming. There's money involved and I'd much rather be teaching out here with our kids,” she told News 12.
The Suffolk Legislature approved the measure granting “agricultural status” to the 1.7-acre parcel of land owned by Pal-O-Mine. However, agricultural status does not mean that eminent domain cannot happen. It’s more of a symbolic gesture that the land should stay as is.
Carol Evers, 20, a volunteer on the farm, says the farm has touched many lives. 
"When they first come here, they're very tentative and introverted and shy and they don't know how to make friends. The horses make them feel so confident,” she said.
The program first began in 1995.
News 12 called and emailed Islandia Mayor Allan Dorman for comment and is waiting to hear back from him.


More from News 12