by Tony Montano, John Mullen and Randy Richers
As proud locals – Saugerties residents who have raised families, built businesses, served as volunteers and supported our community for a combined 150 years – we love our town. Like our friends and neighbors, we want to protect its future and the quality of life we have come to enjoy.
There is a unique opportunity ahead that could help our town address issues including jobs, housing, tax base, land preservation and other community priorities. The potential to create something of which we can all be proud lies before us.
That’s why we, decided to pool our resources and submit an offer to acquire the 800-plus-acre property known as Winston Farm, previously owned by the Schaller family for 60 years. Bordering Route 32 and Route 212 and adjacent to Exit 20 of the Thruway, the property had been identified as one of the region’s premier development opportunities. Uses including a massive distribution warehouse complex, a cluster of big-box stores and even a dump were being discussed.
These uses would not respect the rich history of the property, nor represent our collective identity. Stronger synergy between our community and the future of the property was possible – and necessary. Like many in Saugerties, we understood that development of Winston Farm was inevitable. We also knew there were options that would better align with our town’s character, needs and aspirations.
Having acquired the land in 2020, we are now beginning the process of identifying various potential uses for the property. We have assembled an experienced team that shares our values and vision and have begun engaging with community organizations and local government to chart the future of Winston Farm.
We already have decided to set aside about 400 acres – half the property – for preservation that will include parks, wetlands and trails for public enjoyment. The remaining land could accommodate a mix of uses, including multi- and single-family housing, shared water and sewer infrastructure, amphitheater, boutique hotel resort, agrihood/technology park, commercial and cabins and campgrounds. There are plenty of possibilities and we look forward to engaging our community in meaningful discussion around these concepts, and more.
Of course, the property and rezoning are subject to a comprehensive and lengthy review process, including the thorough impact analysis mandated by the New York State Department of Conservation through SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act). In the meantime, preliminary well tests indicate the property could support the Village of Saugerties’ previously identified need to develop a back-up water supply.
We are fortunate to call Saugerties home and to have built strong relationships with our friends and neighbors over the years. Throughout this process, we will do everything possible to continue to earn your respect and your trust. We look forward to your input as we work to transform Winston Farm.
Tony Montano, John Mullen and Randy Richers are lifelong Saugerties residents who own Winston Farm and are engaging with the community to envision the future of the property.