Dave Mann listens during a Westport planning board meeting on the Rolling Hills Farm permit.
The developer who plans to put a 99-unit private recreational club recently closed on the sale of land formerly owned by Alexander “Sandy” Treadwell.
The sale was finalized last month, transfering the property to Dave Mann, a Westchester County developer who received a permit to create the club, which would be known as Rolling Hills Farm.
Westport Supervisor Daniel Connell said that he was pleased that the deal, which was held up because of negotiations and finalizing the sale, went through.
“It could mean jobs for this community,” Connell said. “Jobs are something that you are always happy to see come to your town.”
Connell said that the project was a win-win in the fact that along with jobs, the project would also add to the property tax base, as well as potential benefits in increased tourism and lodging in the area.
Property manager Ian DeGroff said that Mann wants to be up and running within two years.
“He wants to start with eight duplexes and see how it goes,” DeGroff said. “There is no exact date, but within two years he wants to have it up and running with people staying at the sites.”
The development calls for a total of 99 living units, including 33 cottage duplexes and a large, three-wing "Manor House," with 10 units in each wing. In addition, a centrally-located educational center would offer members instruction in maple sugaring and baking as well as a supply depot where members could pick up farm products.
So far, DeGroff said that, other than some maintenance, the only work that has been done is moving in.
“They want to start breaking ground on the project in the spring as far as any new buildings go,” he said.
Mann was given a permit for the Rolling Hills project from the Westport Planning Board in August of last year, which Chairman William “Bill” Johnston described as a “momentous occasion.”
“I’m very proud of the planning board,” Johnston said at the time. “They did their job extremely conscientiously. They got into all the details and made sure that they understood it.”
The sale of the property was closed Dec. 9, four months after the permits had been approved.
In speaking with the Planning and Town Boards, Mann described the proposed project as a private club centered around “a full-scale working farm,” a retreat where members could leave behind their cell phones and laptops and immerse themselves in the simplicity of an earlier era.
The property, located at the intersection of Camp Dudley Road and Route 9N/22, includes over 1,000 acres of farmland, but virtually all the proposed development would take place within approximately 60 acres along the northern edge, where the previous owners had their residences.
Colin Wells contributed to this story