MELVILLE, N.Y. — A plan to bring “glamping” to a summer camp property on Long Island has neighbors pushing back.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday, Melville residents say they were blindsided by a plan to erect 70 tents in the woods adjacent to their homes.

For decades, neighbors have enjoyed the sounds of a summer camp for the arts. The nonprofit Usdan is set in 140 wooded acres, but neighbors say they were stunned by the latest camp offering.

“To camp in the woods in a residential area, across the street from my house is completely unacceptable,” Melville resident Samantha Diamond said.

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Adult glamping is proposed with 70 tents from March through November. Camp property abuts Barry Tetenbaum’s home.

“They have free access to where I am,” Tetenbaum said.

Hundreds have signed a petition.

“We would like to be able to enjoy our backyards without having fear that there are strangers lurking in the woods,” Michael Rosedale said.

“Noise and the traffic and the pollution, environment concerns,” Shari Delouia said.

“What goes with camping? A camp fire. It can quickly get out of control and burn houses to the foundation.” Dominick Feeney said.

“Imagine 240 people walking in these woods. The food and the rats and the rodents,” Rosedale added.

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Usdan leaders says there has been misinformation, adding safety is paramount and that the immersive arts experience will have a strict code of conduct.

“Much like when you register or book a hotel room, you’ll have to go through a similar process. We are going to have your driver’s license number. We will know who you are. You will have a credit card on file. You’ll agree to a security deposit,” said Joe Levy, Usdan’s chief operating officer.

Security cameras and fencing will be added. In addition, fires won’t be allowed, and there will be no smoking, no alcohol, and no live tree removal, Usdan officials said.

“It will be done tastefully, within keeping with the community,” Usdan attorney John Armentano said.

The plan is to generate $1 million for camp scholarships.

“Our goal is not to blindside anyone. The goal is to create an amenity for this community and if the neighbors have concerns, we have concerns, too. So we want to address them together,” Usdan executive director Lauren Brandt Schloss said.

The town of Huntington now allows glamping to preserve open space.

Residents in opposition plan to pack a zoning hearing on April 7. Usdan representatives say they welcome it and have had a one-on-one dialogues with any neighbor with concerns.

published 2022-04-13 18:15:07