At its September 7 meeting, the Gardiner Town Board granted a license to Lazy River, LLC, to operate its Yogi Bear Jellystone Park campground from April 15 to November 15 of 2021 – “under protest.” Frustrated by lengthy delays in obtaining documents requested from the campground owners, the board specified that this permission to operate applies only to the parcels and uses previously approved by the Gardiner Planning Board.
The original site plan for Lazy River was approved in August 2006 and again in October 2014. A site plan for a new pool area was approved in 2015 and revisions to it in 2019. However, the operators have also been renting out a couple of buildings and creating amenities for campground guests on adjacent parcels without Town authorization. They are seeking the creation of a Campground Floating District with waivers of what councilman Warren Wiegand characterized as “something like 40 deficiencies.”
The approval by the board explicitly affirmed that “All other campsites, amenities and improvements that have been constructed on SBL 93.4-1-23 and SBL 93.4-1-24 or adjacent parcels, or that are proposed in the recently submitted application for Campground Floating District (CFD), Special Use Permit and Site Plan approval, are not authorized for operation under this Campground License.” In other words, Lazy River’s operation of several of its advertised rental properties, including the large structure known as Cindy Bear’s Palace, is currently illegal.
The license authorization goes on to complain that “the Town’s review of the application has been hampered by the Applicant’s delay in providing requested information and responses to written comments by the Town’s technical consultant. This delay has precluded the Town Board from fully evaluating the License application and submitted campground plan prior to the Campground commencing operations for the 2021 season.”
Finally, Lazy River has been put on notice that its entire operation could be jeopardized if it fails to provide the requested documents in a timely matter next year: “…the Applicant will be required to apply for a new or amended License to permit these additional campsites, amenities and other improvements if its application and proposed plans are approved. If a CFD is not approved prior the commencement of the 2022 season, and an application for License is not received in time for the Town Board to review the application prior to the commencement of operations, the Town reserves the right to withhold a License for the 2022 season.”
The Town also reminded Lazy River of its right to “pursue available legal remedies deemed necessary and in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare, with respect to campsites, amenities and improvements that are being used as part of the Campground and/or have been constructed on the site without required approvals.”