Everyone agrees that Yorktown is in desperate need of good, smart redevelopment. That was the reason for the founding of Yorktown Smart Growth: to honor the town motto, “Progress with Preservation.” In the debate over Costco, the preservation was small businesses and the watershed that would have been threatened. Thanks to the group’s efforts, we now have a development appropriate to the site, with a new hardware store (sadly, Mitchell Hardware had closed) and several new businesses moving in. The proposed development of Underhill Farms appears to fit the bill of preserving a wonderful historic farmhouse while also providing much needed senior housing and other resources for the community.
The concerns raised about preserving the outbuildings should not be hard to address (providing they are, in fact, in a condition worth saving). While on-site preservation is likely not the best option, there are contractors who specialize in deconstructing, transporting, and reassembling structures like these. And the resources to find a home are extensive—Westchester has a number of historic farms and sites, along with preservation groups; there are many working farms, along with the Westchester Agricultural Council; the Westchester Land Trust; and any number of realtors who very likely have clients who might have an interest in taking them. The thing we have to remember is that preservation can be as broad a tool as development, if approached positively and creatively, and in a spirit of cooperation.