At its meeting tonight, it is expected that the Stuyvesant Zoning Board of Appeals will vote on a proposal to construct twenty "agro-tourism cabins," along with other tourist amenities, on a farm on Sharptown Ridge. On August 29, the Zoning Board held a public hearing on the project. Ten Stuyvesant residents spoke out against the proposal, arguing that the proposal was principally lodging, lodging was not agriculture, and therefore Stuyvesant's zoning did not allow it. No one from the public spoke in support of the project. The following is quoted from a comment submitted by a resident in the Zoom chat during the hearing:
Why would an investor look at Stuyvesant? It is a question worth looking into. Maybe they were rejected by other towns in our county and then they saw this open field and decided to give us a try. Maybe not. But it is worth the time and energy it takes for the town to review. A venture capitalist putting up housing in Stuyvesant--or anywhere for that matter--has one goal: to make money. Money. Not community. Money. It has nothing to do with our town as a community. It has everything to do with their bank accounts. If anyone in town is associated with this project they'll get a portion of the wealth, but ask yourselves if it is worth it to see this Florida-condo-type project go up in our zoned-for-agriculture town and in ten years watch it collapse from lack of maintenance. There are plenty of examples out there of venture capital money making the bucks and then leaving it to the crows.
Interestingly, both opponents and defenders of the proposed project in Stuyvesant have cited Liberty Farms in Ghent, which describes itself as a "boutique glamping site," as an example.
For opponents of the Sharptown Ridge project, Liberty Farms is an example of a commercial tourist destination for which agriculture is only a minor component rather than an ancillary business that supplements income from farming. A defender of the project cited Liberty Farms as a precedent, telling Gossips it is "already up and running in Stuyvesant." Its existence was presented as justification for the Sharptown Ridge project, despite Liberty Farms being in Ghent not Stuyvesant.
The Stuyvesant Zoning Board meeting takes place tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Stuyvesant Town Hall, 5 Sunset Drive in Stuyvesant. Also on the agenda for tonight's meeting is a proposal to install a utility-scale solar project on Schoolhouse Road.
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