Between the pitch and the plan is a woody stretch of land with a rock crested hump of hill and small Village.
Quail Road in Sloatsburg, a paper road that doesn’t even show up on maps, was for many years presented as just an entry/exit road for the proposed upscale development now known as Tuxedo Farms. The First Phase is scheduled to contain a Village Green with YMCA, Commons with community center, and a few shops to serve some 687 units of varying architectural designs, from cottages to spacious luxury homes, including Pinecrest Hamlet, which will contain a series of rental apartment complexes and townhouses (with 180 units total).
Tuxedo Farms presents a zone-change proposal to the Sloatsburg Planning Board on Tuesday, November 17, at 7:30 p.m., a plan that involves a land-use variance to build some 60,000 square feet of anchor store/retail and office space in north Sloatsburg along Rt. 17.
The residential approval part of Tuxedo Farms/Reserve has been mostly resolved, complete with benefits to the Tuxedo Union Free School District, an upgraded Town of Tuxedo water treatment plant, and sundry other promises in municipal investment.
From a simple access road to alternative development entry/exit to possible location of a farmers’ market, the Quail Road location in Sloatsburg has now been proposed as a site for a retail complex with 60,000+ square feet of space, adjacent to the site of a re-imagined Jessie’s Bagel’s into Jessie’s Country Store.
The proposed retail complex will have approximately 700 feet of frontage along Rt. 17 and contain a total of 320 parking spaces. Tuxedo Farms also advocates widening the narrow four-lanes of Rt. 17 at that location to accommodate traffic, which can snake bumper to bumper entering and existing Sloatsburg during morning/afternoon drive times.
Related Senior Vice President Andrew Dance, who heads up the Tuxedo Farms project for the company, said in a recent Times Herald-Record article by Hema Easley that the “the proposal is contingent on attracting a quality grocer. Related is working with a broker, Welco Realty, that is looking at various chains in the region.”
The Idea is to Bring Vitality
Jessie’s Bagels is set off of the narrow four-lane ribbon of Rt. 17 that carries daily traffic to and from the Town of Tuxedo through Sloatsburg. The dream of many a storefront along Rt. 17 has been to capture all that traffic. Some succeed, most have died off. Many residents of Sloatsburg and Tuxedo have lately looked around at their communities and asked, “what can we do to make things better?”
Some see empty storefronts and rundown areas along the residential and business corridor of Rt. 17 and advocate for investment, filled storefronts, a facelift that gives the Village and community a renewed sense of life.
One downside to living in a bucolic bedroom community in the hills of south Rockland and Orange Counties is the lack of population density that can sustain restaurant and retail businesses and draw more to the area. There are small markets such as Hayward’s Deli’s and Stone Meadow Inn in Sloatsburg to buy essentials, but groceries and other goods are another issue. With the appearance of the generally underwhelming ACME market in Mahwah (which replaced the now defunct A&P), area residents must shop far afield for food and necessities.
The conundrum: population density attracts businesses such as restaurants, boutiques, stores that provide goods and services. But how does a semi-rural community attract those things and retain its character?
Tuxedo Farms (Tuxedo Reserve to the folks who’ve been following this near legendary development for these many years now) is putting that question to the test with its proposal of retail space that includes stores, big and small, along with three separate stand-along pads that might house a bank branch, coffee chain or other drive-thru type of business.
All of this infrastructure is set for the Quail Road loop. All of the Tuxedo Farms community engineering is being set into motion to get the larger housing development off the ground.
Welcome to the Unburbs
The Related Companies’ dream of re-imagining community life hinges on the very real need to “create value” and “generate selling momentum” for the larger housing development. Those houses, town homes and apartments are aimed at young professionals in the “commutable radius of Manhattan” searching for a place to sink roots and raise a family.
Tuxedo Farms is being sold to potential developers — who will actually build and sell the properties — as “a new model for planned communities in the tri-state area.”
The race to invest in Tuxedo, and even Sloatsburg, appears to be part of Tuxedo Farms’ general effort to create that all important momentum. Related has embraced the burgeoning trail town movement in the area that seeks to partner with the surrounding parklands and work to create park- and pedestrian-friendly communities that act as gateway communities to recreation and adventure.
The Tuxedo Farms marketing materials sell that very vision — settle into your own little piece of Ramapo paradise in the hills, surrounded by Tuxedo Park history and the acres and acres of Sterling Forest and Harriman parklands.
What Happens to the End Pieces?
Environmental considerations of both size and location aside, the Tuxedo Farms retail complex proposal presents very real issues related to community planning and quality of life.
— If it’s built, just who will come and lease the space? Who will shop there consistently?
— What happens to the already existing retail businesses in Sloatsburg and Tuxedo, some doing a-okay and some not so well? The Sloatsburg strip mall stands semi-vacant and dated-looking. Would an enormous, new retail complex shift the commerical centers of both Sloatsburg and Tuxedo to Dater’s Crossing, and starve out the old centers.
— How will the housing development, let alone a retail complex, impact traffic flow along Rt. 17, which already congests central Sloatsburg, where the four lanes narrow to nine feet in width?
— Would an upscale food market and retail center be a magnet that attracts people and businesses from all over, creating that vital and energized community presented in the Tuxedo Farms marketing materials?
The Tuxedo Farms proposal goes first before the Sloatsburg Planning Board, which then may decide to hold a Public Hearing before it makes its recommendation to the Village Board about the proposed zone change. Next would be a Village Board vote and/or Public Hearing before voting on the matter.