A favorite historic farm, just around the corner from Blooming Grove’s protected Schunnemunk Mountain, has a chance for a new life as home base for Future Green Studio, an award-winning Brooklyn based landscape design company. Along the stretch of Route 94 near the Tuthill Road/Round Hill Road intersection, a pristine horse farm and homestead was restored about 10 years ago by the David and Judith Polli family.
The farm is adjacent to the original Sears-Howell Red Barn, also restored and now the home of several businesses, on one side, and just a few hundred feet from the historic Church of Christ, which dates back to 1758. The original Sears-Howell farm was internationally renowned for their Ayrshire cattle, known to have the highest butterfat, and undoubtedly contributed to our area’s reputation for providing quality milk, butter and cheese to the New York populace “back in the day.”
Having been prominent on the area’s “For Sale” list for the past two years, area residents worried that it might meet the fate of many other local horse farms, and be destroyed for a new housing development. It also lies along the routes of Blooming Grove’s two other historic favorite farm sites, Roe’s Orchards and Pine Hill Farm, and three historic farms that share the Schunnemunk view on Round Hill Road. There has been talk by some residents of an effort to form a “rural farm district” to provide further protection for these scenic farms and views.
At a public hearing in front of the Town of Blooming Grove Planning Board March meeting, David Goldberg, managing principal of Future Green Studio, presented their plans for this historic farmhouse and acreage as Future Green Farm, LLC. It would be the home base of their landscape design work, and the farmhouse would remain “as is,” with an area in the house devoted to office work. They promised the community, “As you drive by, you will not see any difference in the farmhouse.
Adjacent homeowners voiced concerns about potential air, light, and noise pollution, especially with a renovation that would include a woodworking and metal shop in the barn, that might disturb the country atmosphere and nearby biodiversity corridor. They were told that the company is continuing to operate a shop in Brooklyn that will do almost all of the heavy metalwork. Adjacent neighbors also worried about pesticides that might be used on the acreage that will be used to grow landscape plantings and flowers, especially since they tend bee hives next door.
Goldberg told them, “I assure you that if I was an existing neighbor, I would have the very same concerns. In fact, I would like to have some bee hives as well.” He said that no pesticides would be used, and the firm is committed to being an environmental advocate.
This project is still in the hands of the Planning Board, but Goldberg said he hopes that with finalization of the modifications for the driveway to handle a limited number of larger trucks, along with more specifics on the wood and metal shops, they hope to attain approval soon, so the property’s “in contract” status can be changed to “sold.”
This design firm has an established reputation in New York City, as the landscape design firm used for Rockefeller Center as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other award-winning designs, which can be seen at www.futuregreenstudio.com.
(Disclaimer: The writer, Edie Johnson, owns another of the historic Sears farms, settled in 1810, on Round Hill Rd.)