A massive development project could bring everything from single- and multi-family housing, a job incubator, public multi-use trails, camping and an amphitheater to Winston Farm, the site of the iconic Woodstock ’94 Festival.
Jess Sudol, a representative with the Rochester-based architecture and engineering firm Passero Associates, presented an early glimpse of the project, which would span 800 acres, to the Saugerties Town Board last Tuesday. Passero is working on behalf of local developers John Mullen, Anthony Montano and Randy Richers, who purchased Winston Farm in 2020.
Sudol said Ulster County completed a master plan study in 2009 that focused on job creation and seven-million square feet of high-tech-type manufacturing space. He said while this plan could also incorporate similar elements, it also focuses on history, tourism and entertainment.
“We met with stakeholders and they valued preservation and open space,” Sudol said. “We’d be opening this space to the public for the first time. This is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the Catskills and in Ulster County.”
He laid out the plan in front of the Town Board, stating that coming in from State Route 212 on the Snyder Farm property they are considering a multi-family rental housing component. Then towards the center of the property, which would also be accessible from State Route 32, the uses would be much more mixed with the job incubators, an amphitheater, event space, camping spaces and an old mansion on-site that would be turned into a boutique hospitality space. The proposals even include an indoor waterpark resort. An agrihood concept could also be in the cards, he added.
Part of the western end of the property would offer the largest preservation and open space component with a public recreational trail system and possibly an outdoor adventure park. Farther west, smaller medium-sized single-family lots are proposed. He asserted that the disturbance in these areas would be limited to road construction and the driveways for the homes themselves.
Returning to Route 212, he discussed their plans for the historic stone Snyder farmhouse and barn next to Snyder Hill, a beloved sledding spot for generations of Saugerties kids.
Sudol said the home and barn could serve as a trailhead for the public access site, while Snyder Hill itself would continue as a sledding hill in the public portion of the project.
“Local residents recognize the importance of it,” Sudol said. “We’re considering providing a parking area for it.
He said the project also incorporates a new well for the Village of Saugerties Water Department, not only benefiting the project, but also the department’s water customers in the Village and Town.
As for wastewater, he said the developers propose creating their own wastewater treatment plant, owing to capacity constraints in the existing municipal wastewater system.
He said the project has generated tremendous interest from potential users of the amphitheater and entertainment venue, to others interested in bringing their business to the property.
Sudol acknowledged such a massive project would require a lengthy environmental review and could take a length of time to get underway.
“We’re at the very doorstep, there’d be no shovels within a year,” Sudol said, adding that the developers are hoping to have officials create a new development district zoning ordinance in an area that’s presently designated medium residential and commercial along arterial routes namely state Routes 32 and 212. He said the developers will complete a full State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) form and a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The board voted unanimously to designate itself the lead agency for any zoning changes needed for the project.
Sudol said the developers plan to host a number of public hearings over the next one to two years to get input on the project.
Supervisor Fred Costello said he’s very excited that the project is being developed by local developers and if built, “it would be an exciting addition to our part of the Hudson Valley with implications beyond Saugerties through recreational opportunities and jobs. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to develop this land and create economic benefits, environmental benefits and open space features.”
Costello said as the project goes through the public process, Town officials will try to find balance and he was excited the proposed development features uses beyond housing. “That was not the best use,” he said. “Hopefully, we come to an acceptable resolution in the near future and these folks can go before the Planning Board and earn approval for individual projects.”
“Winston Farm could not be bought by any better people than who are on this project,” Town Board member Mike Ivino said. “This project is a win-win for all”