Posted on October 20, 2022
On Wednesday October 19th 2022, the Daily Freeman of Kingston NY published an article by William J. Kemble entitled “Woodstock residents see conflict over Saugerties glamping plan”.
Here is the text of the article:
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Woodstock residents see conflict over Saugerties glamping plan – Daily Freeman William J. Kemble – Daily Freeman, Kingston NY – October 19, 2022 at 6:39 p.m.
WOODSTOCK, N.Y. — Residents with the Citizens Against Terramor group are forecasting a conflict against Saugerties if a proposed 75-site high-end camping, or glamping, project is allowed to proceed on 77.15 acres off of state Route 212 along the town line.
Group representative Paul Thurman following a Woodstock Town Board meeting Tuesday said there is a low sense of optimism that either Woodstock or Saugerties town officials will take concerns about the proposed Terramor development seriously.
“We’re afraid we’re headed for World War III because we’ve got a lovely caretaker government and these (developers) are playing hardball,” he said. “They’re going to walk right over use and are going to affect the quality of life in this community forever.”
Thurman, who noted that he spent eight years as a Buddhist monk, said the level of concern among the business community and residents has risen tremendously because of plans that include a 4,000-square-foot restaurant and events center, 28-person staff dormitory, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a community fire pit, wellness center, maintenance building and a dog park.
“I hate conflict but the people who are coming at us are not nice people,” he said.
During the past year, residents have complained to Saugerties Town Board members about the need to reduce speeds along state Route 212. However, Woodstock resident Richard Buck noted that the estimated 25,000 vehicles arriving over a seven-month period is a looming nightmare for existing community centers such as the Woodstock Jewish Congregation and the Woodstock Day School. In materials provided to the board, he noted the accident rate at the intersection of Glasco Turnpike and state Route 212 is “already five times” the state average.
“This is going ravage the community,” he said. “I know that Woodstock (town officials are) reluctant to get involved because this is a Saugerties problem,” Buck said. “But this is not a Saugerties problem. This is a Woodstock problem … this just does not belong here.”
However, in minutes from the July 19 Saugerties Planning Board meeting, officials wrote that they considered the traffic impacts to be low. “On average the proposed use would generate 17 (morning) trips and 22 (afternoon/evening) trips,” they wrote. There is a 100 trip threshold for requiring a traffic study. There was too insignificant of a change in traffic impact to require any changes (in the plan).”
In the Saugerties town material, Terramor officials said that the site would primarily be used between May and October, follow national Dark Sky guidelines to minimize light emissions, have a “strict noise” policy for “quiet hours beginning at 10 p.m., and would have about 25% of guests use fire pits that come with the camping sites.
Saugerties Supervisor Fred Costello said that comments from Woodstock residents would have the weight of Saugerties residents’ comments because the impacts would be a shared burden.
“I think the Planning Board will consider the concerns equally,” he said.
“I don’t believe there’s a need for them to be aggressive,” Costello said. “I think if they make the case for whatever concerns they may have, I’m confident our Planning Board will weigh those concerns equally and as considerately as those concerns on the Saugerties side. We certainly don’t want to be a bad neighbor.”
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Commentary While we understand that dramatic language yields column inches,* language like “WW III” and “hardball” are hardly applicable here. In fact, the KOA/Terramor developers have been rather more open and collaborative than previous developers of this land. For example, the article was published just a couple of days after Terramor started testing neighbor’s wells during their own draw-down tests. As we pointed out in that post, these neighborhood tests are not required by law. Further, KOA/Terramor have not yet really had a chance to play hardball. They are going through the expected process required by the Town, County, and State. That is a long process and there will be plenty of more opportunities for them to play hardball. We fully expect them to do so when it comes time to do the full SEQR process, for instance. That is their job. It is we citizens’ job to see that the Town Planning Board does its job overseeing the process and holding developers to account for every dotted “I” and crossed “T”. Any reader of this site will know that we are no apologists for the developers, but it’s important that we keep a realistic and clear-eyed perspective on this process. * We understand that reporting is a difficult business and that quotes are occasionally misheard, taken out of context, or mis-represented. We are assuming that the reporting and writing of this Daily Freeman article is accurate.
The following morning, Thursday October 20th 2022, the editor of the Daily Freeman, Ivan Lajara, appeared on WAMC as part of the Morning Headlines series. The article about Terramor was among the items discussed. Click the link to hear the three minute piece.