Daily Freeman: Woodstock considers involvement in Terramor glamping project in Saugerties

More press in the Daily Freeman, Kingston NY:


In case the article is behind a paywall, here is the text in full:

Woodstock considers involvement in Terramor glamping project in Saugerties

By William J. Kemble | news@freemanonline.com |
PUBLISHED: November 29, 2022 at 3:31 p.m.
UPDATED: November 29, 2022 at 3:32 p.m.
Text copied Wednesday November 30, 2022 at 2:27pm

WOODSTOCK, N.Y. – Town Board members are contemplating whether to request “interested party” status in the Terramor Catskills/KOA application in Saugerties for a 75-site glamping campground along the town line with Woodstock.

Councilman Bennett Ratcliff said during a meeting last week that the project would impact wetlands that cover both sides of the municipal line.

“The town should join the (state environmental quality review) process as the Woodstock Environmental Commission has recommended,” he said. “The town of Woodstock will have wetlands that will be destroyed.”

The project is proposed to cover 77.15 acres off of state Route 212. Among the features of the project would be a 4,000-square-foot restaurant and events center, a 28-person staff dormitory, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a community fire pit, a wellness center, a maintenance building and a dog park.

State Department of Environmental Conservation guidelines say that an “involved agency” has “jurisdiction by law to fund, approve or directly undertake an action” while an “interested agency.”

Supervisor Bill McKenna noted that the town is already listed as an “interested agency” and there could be further discussions with officials in Saugerties to emphasize the importance of protecting property in Woodstock.

“One of the things that I think we should really stress to the Saugerties Planning Board is even though they have their own law, they are right on our border and our zoning requirements and setbacks are quite different,” he said. “I feel quite strongly … that they should respect our law as well (and) really take it into consideration, particularly along that boundary line.”

Opponents of the project have formed the group Citizens Against Terramor and voiced concern that the Saugerties Planning Board has not taken Woodstock’s concerns seriously. Among the issues of concern for the group is a statement in the board’s July minutes that there is “too insignificant of a change in traffic impact” to require any change in the plan.

Officials wrote that “on average the proposed use would generate 17 (morning) trips and 22 (afternoon/evening) trips,” adding that there is a 100-trip threshold for requiring a traffic study.

Councilwoman Laura Ricci expressed confidence that the Saugerties board could incorporate Woodstock’s concerns into the application review process.

“I believe that they’ve been very thorough,” she said. “They had one page with three columns of all the interested agencies … and they’re not trying to skirt any processes. They are trying to cast a wide net with people that would like to be interested or involved agencies.”

— article ends —

More press for Terramor Saugerties Catskills

Albany Times Union opinion Terramor Saugerties Catskills

Hudson Valley One logo - Terramor Saugerties Catskills storyThe Terramor project received more press coverage in the November 16th 2022 issue of Hudson Valley 1. The article was entitled: Self-confessed NIMBYs in Woodstock and Saugerties fight development of glamping resort (HV1 link opens in new tab)
In case that link to the article is paywalled, below is the text of the piece (photos removed).

The project was also the subject of an opinion piece in the Albany Times-Union
Commentary: Sometimes, NIMBY can also be for the greater good. (TU link opens in new tab)
In case that link is paywalled, below is the text of that piece (photos removed).

In case the Hudson Valley 1 article is paywalled, here is the text of the piece (photos removed):
— Article starts —

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

by Susan Farkas November 16, 2022

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 Change.org. 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.

Article ends

Albany Times Union opinion Terramor Saugerties Catskills

Times-Union Commentary: Sometimes, NIMBY can also be for the greater good

Opinion by Nancy Jainchill
Nov. 9, 2022

More than 25 years have passed since I moved to the Hudson Valley, a move that was done in stages, but I always knew this would be home. I settled on a pretty unexceptional house. My husband urged me to look more, look more. But I wasn’t buying the house. I was buying the land, so I didn’t need to “look more.” I found home on 5 1/3 acres, on a dead-end road that wasn’t yet paved. Land, for me, was priority.

Now, these many years later, I’ve watched as this area has been discovered, perhaps at its height as a pandemic refuge. And I’ve watched as the land has been chopped up and more houses built, with reduced acreage permitted.

The Hudson Valley has become a mecca for people who seek their special homes, but it’s also become a destination for financial opportunism. The response of “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBY) has been confronted on issues from hotels to low-income housing to wedding/event venues — and to Terramor.

Terramor Resorts, the luxury “glamping” division of KOA, has come along hoping to take advantage of this area’s magic, proposing to construct a 75-tent glamping campground on 77 acres of mature forest. Each tent will have its own bathroom, shower and wood-burning firepit. A total of 89 structures, including a 4,000-square-foot restaurant and wedding/event center, a bar, a 28-person dormitory, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a community fire pit, and a wellness center are planned.

The location is in the midst of a largely residential area in the heart of the Saugerties-Woodstock community, just off of two main roads that converge at an intersection with the highest number of vehicular accidents in the region. Terramor conducted a traffic assessment to determine the impact of the glampers in February, on a Thursday, in the middle of the pandemic. Perhaps they thought no one would notice the timing, how unrepresentative the data would be of traffic during their months of operation — May to November.

There are a lot of community members raising an outcry. Red and white signs shouting “STOP TERRAMOR” catch your attention on most of the roads in the area.

Is this an example of NIMBY for the greater good?

In a recently published essay on ethical travel, the writer advises us to seek out places with sustainable resources. The Hudson Valley Resource Mapper identifies the proposed glamping site as an area of climate interest and unique conservation value, including at least ten acres of thousands-of-years-old wetlands that will be impacted if the project proceeds.
Wetlands provide an important habitat for terrestrial animals. They offer flood resilience. They serve as “nature’s kidney” by improving our water quality through the natural filtration of pollutants.

Here’s Terramor’s solution: Relocate or “offset” the wetlands miles away through a program of credits. I’m not sure how that will help our environment.

Of course there are other concerns. Noise and light pollution have serious detrimental effects on wildlife. Sensory pollution wrought by flooding the environment with human-made light and sound, known to confound the senses of countless animals and obscure the cues they depend upon to survive, will be an inevitable byproduct of 150-375 people enjoying nature. Then there’s the smoke from the 75+ fire pits. The particulates can have a strong negative effect on our health. Experts contend the smoke from just one fire pit compares to the second-hand smoke from 800 cigarettes.

It might seem an irony that in March 2022, when I took my first vacation since the pandemic began, I went glamping. But the site was literally in the middle of nowhere and with many fewer tents. So glamping can be done responsibly, and more in line with environmental concerns, as has been shown with sites that have revitalized worn campgrounds. This is in sharp contrast to what Terramor is attempting, which is the takeover of mature, dense forests with wetlands.

For our community, “Saugerstock,” for the totality of the inhabitants — human and otherwise — this seems to me a case of NIMBY for the greater good.

— Article ends —