Sunday, October 07, 2007


Great news! About 7 years ago the owner of Westchester Greenhouse Farms advised the town that he was planning to sell his farm to a developer. The farm is located at the corner of West Hartsdale Ave and Secor Road. It’s a Greenburgh landmark – a spectacular property that enhances the quality of life for many – especially residents of Poets Corner.
I met with Joe Chiocchi, the owner of the farm today, and received some great news. He has changed his mind. He wants to preserve the property and protect the land as a farm. His children are interested in running the farm in the future. Mr. Chiocchi is currently in court to stop an old development contract. I always objected to the proposal to develop this property – development of this parcel of land would have changed the character of the community. To say I’m delighted is an understatement!
How can you help? Petitions are being circulated to protect the property. You can sign a petition at the farm (hundreds signed the petition today—the first day the petitions were circulated) or you can e mail me a brief note stating that you support the preservation of the farm –a unique community asset. My e mail is
The farm on Secor and West Hartsdale Ave is one of the town’s great assets. Let’s make sure it is preserved for many years to come.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor


Anonymous said...

That is great news. But will petitions sway the court decision? And how do e-mails to the Supervisor affect a court decision?

hal samis said...

To Will Robinson:
Red flag! Danger! Warning!

I generally favor development and am partial to allowing the owner to use his property to the full extent of the law.

And I know nothing about this situation other than what I have read in the Supervisor's introduction and the blogger's comment above mine.

That said, I am concerned about the
words "Chiocchi is currently in court to stop an old development contract." That smells suspicious.
I'm thinking that prices have risen as land has become more scarce and it is always possible that the terms of the contracts may now be viewed as less generous than what could be realized today.
And, if this were the reality, then it would follow that the owner now says his childen want to take up farming -- which they might do for a "few" years.

As I said, I don't know anything more than what I have just read.

Nor do I quarrel with the Supervisor's reaction: the owner is a constituent also while I fully recognize that residents would want to stop, in any way they can, extensive development while marshalling this kind of grassroot support is customary. But neither can I disagree with the blogger who says that this will have little effect upon the Court which will rule on the legal aspects -- whether the contract is not in default by the developer and still enforceable.

Certainly what the Public needs is to know the terms of the existing contract; what the owner of the property will do to preserve the property as a farm and, for how long. I suspect that its continued use as a farm does not bring in either the really big bucks to the owner or to the town.
And this school district has room for all the school children that can be grown on this parcel.

Like I wrote above, I think we need to know more about what kind of commitment can be elicited from the owner to see that the property remains a farm. And whether this will survive title passing to his children.

All of this pre-supposes that the owner is successful in Court.

Anonymous said...

This land should be designated by the historic board as a historic site. It should not be developed. Poets Corner will never be the same if is developed.

Elmor said...

Over development is not good. Even if it stays as a farm for a few years that is great. However, Hal Samis has some great points. If the owner is trying to break the contract due to his wanting a higher price some time in the future, then that can be a problem to support it. However, the courts will decide the legitimacy of his claim. But what is best for the community?

If apts are put up on this farm, imagine the overcrowding that will take place. So many developments have come up in recent years in Greenburgh and neighboring towns that the traffic congestion is beginning to show here already. Poet's corner is about the best place in Greenburgh, and as Mr. Anonymous said, Poet's corner will go down in value if there is a further development here.

One other suggestion. Students from the Greenburgh High School should be given a small portion of land to farm somewhere in Greenburgh and they can visit this farm to get some hints of farming.

Anonymous said...

The kids already have a place to farm on the Woodlands campus.
Also do not forget what happened at the golf range on Dobbs Ferry Rd. People signed a petition to keep the range open for recreation and after the Town decided not to take the property. The owner sold it and now they are going to develop it.

Anonymous said...

Ever try to exit or enter poets corner on a Sunday? You will be in tons of traffic due to the church on the hill next to the fire house

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'd be happy if the farm remained there but I do question what would happen if it was sold. Mr Chiocchi owns the very large farm further down Secor where his growing is done and where he conducts his commercial business. I wonder if he would sell this property as well. This parcel runs from Secor to Dobbs Ferry road.

Developers would be all over this parcel.

Anonymous said...

Are you complaing about the traffic on one day Sunday,or are you complaing that there is a church up the hill.

Anonymous said...

Another Mayberry-esque trapping succumbs to 21st century reality.
You want services and concierge government? Get the damn property on the tax rolls at something approaching its economic value.
If not, stop complaining about rising taxes and declining services.

Anonymous said...

how about one of the towns famous conservation district overlays - then the map can be redrawn with a mistake to allow a developer to claim he can erect multi-story multifamily dwellings in the heart of poets corners...

Anonymous said...

Did the seller have a gun to his head,I doubt it.
He signed a contract legally,so what does he want now.
Yes maybe the property is worth more today than when he went into contract,so that's his problem.
A contract is a contract.
He should have sat down with his family before this undertaking.
He is of sound mind so what is his defence other than his children want to work the farm.