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HV1: Self-confessed NIMBYs in Woodstock and Saugerties fight development of glamping resort

Original story By Susan Farkas

Donald Elder

Opposition to the Terramor glamping resort, planned on a 77-acre lot where Saugerties and Woodstock meet, is mounting — and going national.

A project of Kampgrounds of America’s high-end brand, Terramor plans to build 75 luxury tents on platforms, each with its own bathroom and firepit, plus a 4,000-square-foot restaurant and event center, an outfitter’s shop, staff housing, a swimming pool and a communal fire pit.

‘Terramor’ means love the land but nearby homeowners are dubious. Red and white “Stop Terramor’’ signs are sprouting on surrounding roads. They suggest “Love Thy Neighbor.”

Neighbors fear the Terramor development, which KOA hopes to open in 2024, and its near-Woodstock address will draw visitors curious about the town’s charms but destructive to the area’s tranquility and respect for nature.

Terramor construction.

Robert Thurman, a retired school administrator and mental health counselor, is a self-confessed NIMBY. A resident of Plochman Lane, which is near Terramor’s western side, he’s adamantly opposed to a glamping site “in his backyard.” Thurman is 75 and asthmatic. He worries about air pollution from the wood-burning fire pits, aquifer depletion that will drain his well and traffic congestion as additional cars travel on already over-taxed roads.

Thurman says he wants nothing more than to sit on his porch with a good book. But he’s on the board of Citizens against Terramor and says he’s in this fight to the finish. “We don’t feel there is any compromise that would allow this to be built — we’re going to stick to our guns.”

Educator Dr. Susan Paynter is president of Citizens Against Terramor. On her list of concerns is the loss of ten acres of precious wetlands that provide natural filtration of pollutants, as well as important habitat for wildlife and birds like the American woodcock, a “species of continental concern.”

One of Terramor’s neighbors has already been affected by its ambitious plans. His story is a cautionary tale for those who fear their property values are threatened.

This summer, painter and Saugerties resident Donald Elder and his neighbor were on the verge of selling a fifteen-acre parcel of land they own jointly. They had a customer — an artist planning to build a home and studio on the property. Her land would border Terramor. A price was agreed in mid-June.

But before the closing date, newspapers (including Hudson Valley One) reported on the Terramor development. When she learned that several tents would be built about 100 feet from her property line, Elder’s buyer feared that light and music would disrupt the peaceful natural surroundings she sought. The deal collapsed.

Elder now despairs of ever selling the parcel — or even his house, which is a short walk from the low stone wall that marks Terramor’s land.

Dozens of neighbors are organizing and raising money — about $29,000 so far — to hire a hydrologist, an environmental engineer, a geologist, a lawyer and Hudsonia, an environmental research institute. Citizens Against Terramor hope the data these experts collect will convince the Saugerties Planning Board to deny the company permission to proceed.

NIMBYs across the country have joined the fight. Citizens Against Terramor has posted a petition on They address Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger, stating, “While we appreciate progress, we do not want to be overdeveloped, and strongly believe RESORTS do not belong in residential communities.”

“Stop Terramor” signs on Glasco Turnpike.

So far, they’ve gathered more than 32,000 signatures, many from “Saugerstock” but others from as far afield as Arkansas and Arizona. Dr. Paynter believes a widespread distrust of corporate outsiders is fueling the passionate support of Citizens Against Terramor.

Petitioners cite their love of nature and their hatred of greed. This note from Julie Parisi Kirby is emblematic of their comments: “We need to protect the wild spaces we have left. Destroying them for something so frivolous is criminal. We’re facing numerous crises: climate, housing, pollution of air, water and land. This project would add to the crises and do nothing to help mitigate them.”

We reached out to Terramor for comment but did not receive a call back by press time.

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