According to the organization, approximately 50 percent of the property is underlain with soils identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as “Farmland of Statewide Importance” and therefore potentially suitable for future agricultural use. An examination of aerial photos taken and posted on the Dutchess County web site shows that the larger of the two lots was farmed until the 1970’s; the other was farmed into the 1990’s.
Speakers at the hearing also suggested that creating the development would make farming the land virtually impossible now and in the future.
“Is creating 11 new neighbors to this farmland going to increase or negatively impact the farming on this parcel?” asked Robert McKeon, whose farming operation borders the property to the west and straddles Feller Newmark and Crestwood roads. “These 11 lot owners are supposed to own and manage that property. Now how likely is it all 11 of them will agree to have it be farmed? Not likely.”
McKeon added that increased traffic along Feller Newmark and Crestwood would disrupt farm operations for himself and other farms in the area.
Other speakers expressed their concern that approval of this private-road development would set a precedent that could be seized upon in other areas of the town. Without the private road, there is only frontage along the road for three flag lots on the property.
“It’s going to set a dangerous precedent,” said Mary Feller, who grew up on the road. “It is going to undermine everything that Red Hook has been doing for the past 20 years trying to conserve.”
The planning board will continue to review the proposal and the public hearing will remain open until the board’s Sept. 17 meeting.
A representative from Landmark Properties did not attend the hearing.