Businessman has ambitious plans for the old Rickey Farm

Vernon. Will Brown wants to expand the existing barns and convert them into retail spaces, a farm store and a butcher shop with a commercial kitchen. His plans go before the Land Use Board on Thursday, Nov. 12.

10 Nov 2020 | 01:19

An area businessman has ambitious plans for the old Rickey Farm.

Will Brown, a member of the township’s Historical Preservation Committee, owns a farm that spans Vernon Township, N.J., and Warwick, N.Y. He has an application before Vernon’s Land Use Board to expand the existing barns and convert them into retail spaces, a farm store, and a butcher shop with a commercial kitchen.

Brown also plans to put in a commercial kitchen, modify the parking areas, and install a new sewage disposal system. His application will goes before the Land Use Board on Thursday, Nov. 12, at the Vernon Township Municipal Center.

The larger barn has two floors. Downstairs, the proposal is for an art gallery, craft space, or studio space. Upstairs will be planned events ,such as weddings or conferences. A 1,750 square-foot expansion is planned for the first floor, and a 416-foot square-foot expansion is planned for the second.

The other barn would be a farm store that would sell bakery items and other food products. A 30-by-50-foot addition is proposed for the store, along with a 440-square-foot walkway.

Wheel stops will delineate spaces in the parking lot. Landscaping will direct traffic to the main entrance and the exit driveway.

Brown also proposes to use a portion of the property for glamping — camping that offers accommodations more luxurious than traditional camping. The only proposed permanent structure planned here is a small building that will house a bathroom and shower.

4,133 on opposing petition

The project faces some opposition. A Change.org petition posted by Angela Mileto says Brown plans to build “two enormous structures for wedding venues, conference centers weddings and more retail” and has already begun tearing up the land.

She lives on a property surrounded by the land Brown owns.

“This benefits no one in the town but those that profit from it and they have shown time and time again that they don’t care about this land,” she wrote in the petition.

The petition garnered over 4,133 signatures.

The application went before the township Environmental Commission on Sept. 21.

Brown purchased the property in 2019. He declined to comment on the application until after the Nov. 12 Land Use Board meeting.

“This benefits no one in the town but those that profit from it and they have shown time and time again that they don’t care about this land.” Petition posted by Angela Mileto