Designed by Matthew Bialecki and the Office for Rural Architecture in 1984, Outlook Farm has become the premier example of conservation development in the Hudson Valley. The 106-acre property provides 33 home sites in a clustered open space design that remains a model of landscape preservation and environmental protection.
The design permanently protects over 36 acres of scenic fields, forests, and wetlands using a wide variety of conservation methods. Primary among these was the conservation analysis that identified the scenic open meadows, wetlands, and sensitive forestlands that made the property so unique. These natural features were prioritized and integrated into the site plan in order to preserve their character and environmental integrity. All property-line divisions were laid out to define and maintain natural boundaries, and setbacks, covenants and deed restrictions were developed to minimize environmental impact. The overall density of over 3.5 acres per unit was less than half the allowable density and is protected by prohibitions against future subdivision and accessory uses. Construction at Outlook is regulated by strict development standards that must approve all architectural designs and site plans.
In addition to the on-site conservation strategies, the project developers, Outlook Partnership, proposed a permanent scenic road designation for Albany Post Road, the road that borders the property. The Town of New Paltz accepted the designation in 1988 – its first local designation for a scenic road corridor.
Since its completion in 1986, Outlook Farm has become a thriving rural neighborhood that has become a model for environmental conservation and Smart Growth in the Hudson Valley. Outlook demonstrates that carefully designed developments conceived with sound environmental standards can set the standard for community development and environmental conservation.