It has been more than three decades since a massive development now known as Tuxedo Farms was first proposed in the town of Tuxedo. The 2,300-acre site stretches from Tuxedo down the south side of Route 17 and slightly over the border of Rockland County into the village of Sloatsburg.
It has its infrastructure in place — water, sewer and electricity. The only thing missing? Homes and people to live in them.
Before the project fizzled in 2017, Related Cos. had been appearing before the Sloatsburg Planning Board, where it was proposing to build a 65,000-square-foot shopping center at the southernmost end of the new community. The shopping center was to include a supermarket, a major necessity in the immediate area. (Currently, residents either drive south to New Jersey or north to Monroe/Woodbury to do their shopping.)
Related Cos. also proposed to build a $12 million recreation/fitness facility for the development and dedicate it to the YMCA.
To encourage builders, the company was offering them the opportunity to bulk buy fully improved lots. When it was learned that Tuxedo Union Free School District lost the majority of its Greenwood Lake students to Warwick’s school district in a contract deal, builders reportedly balked at the idea of trying to sell a house that had a school district with too few students. Plans for Tuxedo Farms were stifled again.
With the groundwork laid for a new community but no new community in the picture, Tuxedo residents voted “aye” in 2019 to a referendum to move all of its unincorporated land into the town of Tuxedo in order to halt the creation of any other villages within the municipality.
Notwithstanding that change, with land at a premium and downstaters looking to relocate farther north, Related Cos. is moving forward once more with plans to build 1,200 homes on nearly two square miles of prime property that has been sitting on the sidelines of the Hudson Valley’s construction boom.
One critical piece of existing new infrastructure that can’t be put on hold until new housing is built: the wastewater treatment plant that Related built several years ago.
The town’s current plant is more than 30 years old and in need of replacement. Town Supervisor Ken English’s mission now is getting the new multimillion-dollar plant that Related bonded and built for Tuxedo Farms to open and begin operating as soon as possible.
“Its importance is enormous. The area known as Tuxedo Hamlet, which includes the East Village and parts of Tuxedo Park, are served by this outdated and deteriorating plant. If it were to fail, there’s no viable plan for dealing with the thousands of gallons of waste produced every day. The town is responsible for the aging plant and the delivery of sewer services to the district. We’re obligated to resolve this problem.”
As a result of the existing plant’s condition, there has been a moratorium on new hookups, which English said has further stifled development.
On June 25, English toured the new treatment plant with representatives from the New York State Comptroller’s Office; Gregory Gushee, executive vice president of Related Cos., and Henry Haefner, Related’s field manager for the Tuxedo Farms project.
“Touring the new plant reinforced how beneficial it will be; with all its latest state-of-the-art improvements and its ability to clean the water more efficiently and effectively, it can also handle up to 100,000 gallons per day.”
Its activation will also have a positive impact on the quality of drinking water for Sloatsburg in Rockland, where part of the Tuxedo Farms’ property also lies. While the group was touring the treatment plant, Gushee stated the intention to get the new plant activated before the end of the year.
English also spoke to the concerns about Tuxedo’s George S. Baker High School; although it had a small graduating class in 2021 of 16 students, he said he expects enrollment to grow now that it has become a certified STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school for grades 9-12. Tuxedo’s supervisor is also confident the recent presentation that Gushee gave to the town board will come to fruition.
“Mr. Gushee feels this is the ‘right time’ for the company to start moving on this,” he said, “and I couldn’t agree more. We have confidence this project is finally going to become a reality for our town.”