The owners of the 815-acre Winston Farm in Saugerties, where the 1994 version of the Woodstock Music Festival was held, want to develop the property for residential and commercial purposes. They worked to build support for the idea among local businesses and residents.
The original Woodstock festival was held at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York. The 1994 festival in Saugerties drew an estimated 500,000 people.
Current owners Tony Montano, John Mullen and Randy Richers purchased the Winston Farm in 2020 from the Schaller family, who owned it since 1961. All three are Saugerties residents and business operators.
Montano was born in Saugerties and his family had established the Montano shoe store there in 1906. A. Montano Co., is currently a construction equipment dealer.
Mullen has lived in Saugerties since he was eight years old. J. Mullen and Sons specializes in excavation.
Richers moved to Saugerties when he was 10 years old. He is involved in three companies: NY Drilling Services, Richers Electric and NY Crushing and Recycling.
Although they didn’t have a specific plan, they went to Saugerties Town Council to open discussions about what could be done with the site and to ask for rezoning. Opportunities for development were explored in a presentation at the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast on April 28.
Saugerties Town Supervisor Fred Costello said at the meeting, “We are being rediscovered by people looking for a place to vacation and at the same time we are being redefined as an area where people want to bring their businesses, operate their businesses.”
Costello said there was a housing crisis in the area and finding housing for people in entry-level jobs at area businesses had become a challenge.
“It’s amazing ground,” Costello said of Winston Farm. “Its location is amazing. It is one of the most important properties in the Hudson Valley.
He said the process of creating an acceptable development proposal “is daunting” and “fraught with pitfalls”.
Josh Sommers, president and CEO of Goshen-based Focus Media, which sits on the board of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC) and works with Winston Farms on the project, made a presentation on behalf of the development team.
“We ask the community, what kind of economic development do you want to see? What type of accommodation? How can we meet the needs of Saugerties and Ulster County? »
Sommers explained that a preliminary site master plan and documentation is in preparation.
“There is going to be a very thorough environmental review that will take place with the city council as the lead agency for this rezoning process,” Sommers said.
The new owners of Winston Farm are committed to maintaining approximately 400 acres of the property as open space and say they will provide an example of “responsible and sustainable development that supports local economic growth while maintaining a synergy with residents, culture and environmental resources of our community”. .”
Using the Saugerties Farms LLC entity, the owners applied to the Saugerties City Council to re-zone the nine lands that make up GB’s farm property, allowing general operations; MDR, medium density residential; and HR, which stands for Hamlet Residential, in PDD, a planned development district.
Jess Sudol, president of architectural and engineering firm Passero Associates representing the plaintiff, told City Council: “A wide range of residential, non-residential, agricultural, recreational, entertainment and hospitality uses are proposed. The planned development neighborhood will incorporate appropriate design elements, amenities or treatments that maintain and enhance the design relationships between buildings and uses in the neighborhood and beyond the neighborhood, to maintain a unique, playful and inviting.
Sudol said the development would include a mix of complementary building styles of varying heights and sizes, as well as indoor and outdoor venues and spaces for active and passive recreation, entertainment and social gatherings.
Specific development ideas being floated include multi-family and single-family housing, an amphitheater, boutique hotel, technology park, offices, cabins, and campgrounds.
The area proposed for development is roughly bounded to the south by Saugerties-Woodstock Road, also identified as New York State Route 212; power lines along the western edge of the property; Mower Mill Road to the north; and State Route 32 to the east. The site is across from Exit 20 of the New York State Thruway, I-87.
Saugerties Farms LLC points out that Winston Farm is the largest entity-owned property in Saugerties and that the HVEDC had prepared in 2009 a study on the feasibility of a high-tech development on the property. The study looked at nine possible development sites and concluded that Winston Farm was the most favorable for a high-tech development that would include a mix of high-tech research and development and sustainable manufacturing facilities. The study envisioned support uses consisting of a mix of restaurants, shops, recreation venues, arts venues, educational centers providing workforce training, and a heritage museum of Hudson Valley.
The applicant indicates that its development would include the provision of new water and wastewater treatment infrastructure that would serve the development while helping meet the needs of the city.