One of the pioneering conservation developments in the Hudson Valley, River Park Cooperative is a model for preserving land through limited development. Designed around a 23-acre publicly accessible “Commons,” the 116-acre property provided 24 home sites, carefully designed to minimize environmental impacts and preserve the most sensitive features of the property.
The park, cooperatively owned by all the residents, consists of two large meadows ringed by dense forest. The park features a self-guided nature trail that leads to a riverside deck and boat launch providing access to the Wallkill River for the entire neighborhood. The Wallkill is ideal for rowing, canoeing, swimming and birding and offers abundant wildlife and natural forests along its shores.
River Park Cooperative’s unusual physical plan and legal charter provide maximum protection of the environment. While zoning would have allowed a density of one unit per every two acres, River Park’s home sites, ranging from 2 ½ to 11 acres, provide more than 5-acre per unit density – less than half what was allowed. Based on a “Cooperative” model of neighborhood governance, the River Park Homeowners Association owns and manages the open space and the design guidelines for the neighborhood. These strict covenants and development standards insure that future building within the Cooperative preserve its beauty and environmental quality.
Building at River Park is guided by the covenants to conserve the landscape while integrating the architecture of the homes into the natural environment. Clearing and setback requirements leave a natural border along roads and between home sites. Architectural review of house design, color, access, and overall site planning are required to preserve the visual harmony of the neighborhood. Further subdivision of the individual lots is not allowed and accessory uses are limited.
Since its completion in 1989, River Park Cooperative has been a thriving neighborhood and successful model for Smart Growth and sustainable development in the Hudson Valley.