CHESTER – While the $100 million lawsuit claiming discrimination against their 117-acre development still simmers in court, The Greens at Chester developers have acquired another 76 acres adjacent to the property.
Deeds were recorded on Friday and Monday for three parcels of land, all on Conklingtown Road and contiguous to the land on which The Greens at Chester proposed 431 homes. The newly bought properties include 58 Conklingtown Road, measuring 2.2 acres; 94 Conklingtown Road, 58.80 acres; and 158 Conklingtown Road, 15 acres.
“We got a good offer from a neighbor, so we bought it,” Livy Schwartz, one of the developers of The Greens at Chester, said on Tuesday. “There's no plan to develop at this time.”
All three parcels adjoin part of the southwestern boundary of the land that’s pegged for The Greens at Chester. The land at 158 Conklingtown Road actually lies within the Town of Goshen, while the other two properties are – like the 117-acre property – in the Town of Chester.
The developers – a group of Brooklyn-based investors known as Greens at Chester LLC - filed a 101-page federal complaint July 19, accusing Chester town officials, Orange County, and County Executive Steven Neuhaus of blocking its development in what attorneys argue is an attempt to prevent an influx of Hasidic residents.
The lawsuit demands that the court reverse the town’s building-permit denials and order it to issue permits for any houses that comply with plans the town approved in 2013. They also are seeking $80 million in compensatory damages for each of eight claims, $20 million in punitive damages for four of those claims, and compensation for property they say the town effectively has taken away.
The previous developer completed environmental review in 1998, after 13 years of town review. The project continued to languish for years after the environmental review, prompting the lawsuit by developer Wilbur Fried, who finally got conditional final approval for the Greens at Chester in 2013. Fried sold his 110-acre property for $12.1 million in 2017 to Greens at Chester LLC.
Meanwhile, the July 19 lawsuit continues its volley back and forth in New York’s Southern District Court. Most recently, papers were filed Feb. 19 in support of the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Back in January, state Attorney General Letitia James filed a motion to intervene on behalf of Greens at Chester LLC; Judge Cathy Seibel has not yet ruled on James’ motion.