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Christal Farm Sale Set, Will Remain A Farm
by Bonnie White

The 250-acre Christal Farm on Hanover Street in Yorktown, preliminarily approved for a 165-unit townhouse development in 1974, is now about to be sold to a group of Manhattan and Westchester investors who will continue to use the property as a farm, The Yorktowner learned this week.

Bernard Stebel, the attorney for the estate of the late Henry Christal, confirmed, and Raymond Sanseverino, who represents the five investors, verified that contracts have been drawn up and a closing is expected to take place sometime in the next two weeks.

Sanseverino, an attorney with the Manhattan law from of Corbin and Gordon, declined to elaborate on any details of the proposed sale until the closing actually takes place. However, he did state that five men: Stanley V. Cheslock, B. Giles Brophy, John L. Knight, J. Franklin Sands, and John Sites, have formed a partnership and will operate the property under the name Hilltop-Hanover Farms.

According to Sanseverino, David Younger, the long-time manager of the farm for the Christal family, will stay on, this time to raise "high quality" Holsteins instead of the prize-winning Guernseys he once bred for Mr. Christal. Hilltop-Hanover Farms will be a dairy farm and right now there are no plans to develop the site for any other use, he stated.

Mr. Christal, an advertising executive, bought the lovely farm in 1943 where he originally invested in 1200 "laying hens." The next year he switched to dairy cows and Hanover Hill Farm became one of the most famous Guernsey dairy and breeding farms in the country. Morgan horses were also raised on the farm, which has been managed by Mr. Younger for over 30 years.

In 1973, developers Harvey Rothstein and Charles Zuckerman took out an option to buy the farm and proposed developing 60 acres into multi-family housing, leaving the remaining 190 acres open. This proposal required a change of zoning and, instead, the town board okayed the site for a single-family townhouse cluster development under Yorktown's flexibility ordinance.

After a year of stormy hearings which saw residents in the areas split over a subdivision plan for the site-some wanted a conventional development with houses on one-acre lots over the entire parcel, others favored clustering but wanted the original 201-lot count reduced-the planning board okayed a preliminary site plan. That plan okayed 165 single-family townhouses on 40 acres, 11 single-family homes on 2-acre lots, a 40-acre parcel which included the farmhouse and its immediate environs (giving the town first option to buy), and another lot to be developed from a sewage treatment plant. The rest of the acreage would have been left in its natural wooded state.

One of the conditions of approval was that the development be sewered by a package plant to be constructed by the developers. Apparently that condition became difficult to meet, the preliminary plan was never followed up by a final plat and the option to buy reportedly died.

No further development plans have come before the planning board since the preliminary plan was approved late in 1974. The town, anxious to obtain the 40-acre farmhouse parcel, had at one time reserved federal community Development Act funds to make the purchase should the original plan go through. When nothing happened, that money was eventually reallocated for other uses.

Source: The Yorktowner, Vol. 11 No. 14, April 6, 1977

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