Richard C. Cotton is the Managing Partner of Hawk Pointe Golf Club and Asbury Farms Real Estate Development. A fourth generation area resident, Richard has spent most of his professional life land planning, serving agricultural organizations and effectuating a balance between economic development and environmental conservation in the community.
In the early 1980’s, Richard worked as an independent consultant to individuals and companies in repositioning projects encouraging the placement of increasingly scarce land into preservation, preserving thousands of acres throughout Hunterdon and Warren Counties. In the late 1980’s Richard became involved in many community organizations and was a founding member of the Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA), which created awareness in the Musconetcong Valley for its unique resources. Through their work the MWA was the driving force behind parts of the Musconetcong River being designated as part of the National Wild Scenic Rivers System. These selected rivers in the United States are preserved for possessing remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values and are protected from development that would substantially change their wild or scenic nature. Also during this time, Richard worked with the South Branch Water Shed Association, creating and running the Hunterdon Heritage Land Trust. In 1992, Richard was appointed by then Governor Florio to the first Highlands Council a regional land planning group.
It was in 1996 when Richard first became aware of the availability of a large, controversial parcel of land where Hawk Pointe is now located. A developer purchased the acres with the intent of maximizing his investment by building out the land, thus potentially leaving the community with the economic and environmental fall out. The onsite density of housing project originally planned for this property was over 1,000 units, which would have included a new school. Needless to say, this housing development would have caused a devastating impact economically and environmentally to a small rural community in Warren County. Fortunately, the development process took such a lengthy time to be approved at a time when the economy had turned and the developer lost control, and eventually gave the property back to the bank. The bank continued to pursue the approvals and began to market the ill-conceived plan which was negotiated through the court system to whoever would purchase it. With the land’s value and uniqueness, Richard knew it warranted a unique preservation strategy. In creating Hawk Pointe Golf Club, the goal’s were simple, yet well-defined:
maintain 80 percent of the open space
preserve the property’s historical components
design around the land’s natural areas
create a climate of environmental, economical and social sustainability, along with creating local jobs
This plan would serve as a model for other landowners and communities that were struggling with the effects of suburban sprawl.
Richard has evolved into a new breed of business enviropreneur who creates new and insightful ways to turn environmental problems into economical assets by promoting sound environmental strategies. Richard is a voice for his community and the environment, which he has actively pursued for over 30 years. Richard continues to make his environmental strides with energy, water and food. This is clearly evident with his numerous endeavors at the Hawk Pointe Community, which includes the implementation ofa 1,900 panel solar array which powers 100% of the Club’s energy consumption, as well as a new 2mega watt system that will provide enough energy power for the commercial component of the Village at Hawk Pointe. Richard used an environmental friendly systemin his approach to the Village’s waste water management design. Treating water was a critical asset not a waste to be disposedof. Through Richard’s efforts and innovations, he was able to build a system respecting the environmental goals, no impact on the surrounding environment and reusing water on site. The storm water system developed by Richard and his team has a level of integrity by cleaning all the storm water on site through vegetated swales that then recycles the water to provide irrigation means to the Village at Hawk Pointe.
Richard is currently working with the Warren County Economic Council and State and Local Officials to develop a community-based food system and strategies to produce, process, and market locally grown food to the many community-based food systems within the county. The food system is an important resource and consideration for long-term community and economic development.
Richard Cotton resides in Hunterdon County with his wife Monica, daughter Alayna, and son Bryce. Currently Richard and Bryce raise grass fed beef cows on their farm in Bethlehem Township to help supply the local food economy.