The Woodstock Environmental Commission is gathering information to determine what standing the town has in the environmental review of the proposed Terramor glamping site on the Woodstock-Saugerties border.
Terramor, which is Kampgrounds of America’s (KOA) high-end brand, plans to build 75 luxury camping sites on platforms, each with its own bathroom and fire pit, on a 77 acre lot off of Route 212, near Glasco Turnpike. A 4000-square-foot restaurant is also planned for the site, as well as a swimming pool.
The town is now an interested agency in the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process, meaning the town is given all information about the application process. But Town Councilman Bennet Ratcliff is urging involved agency status, which would give the town jurisdiction and legal standing.
Wetlands affected by the project cross the line into Woodstock, which has a wetlands protection law and requires a permit when they are disturbed. Ratcliff said he has discussed the matter with the Association of Towns, but hasn’t received a response yet.
“The language in some of our wetlands law makes it sound…to me, I thought maybe they need to get a permit from us,” said WEC Chair Alex Bolotow at a December 7 meeting.
But in discussions with the N.Y. Department of State, it became apparent that it’s not clear.
“At first, they kind of made it sound like both municipalities could be involved parties separately or together, and then we got more into it, and it seems less and less like that was the case,” Bolotow said.
Susan Paynter, president of Citizens Against Terramor, said Woodstock should be an involved agency for three reasons. “The first is that the wetlands were incorrectly mapped by Terramor and they made it look as though the wetland stopped at the border of Terramor’s property. What we’ve now determined through our hydrologist…is that there are more than 12.4 acres and we are going to be applying to New York State to be included now as New York State wetlands, but they are contiguous to the town of Woodstock,’ Paynter said. “The other thing that’s important here is that of the nine wells that were monitored by our hydrologist…and of the three wells that showed drawdown and impact, one of them was in Woodstock,” she said. “It really has to do with whether Woodstock has any say in the permitting process. So they could be like ‘We’re nuking Saugerties, and you’re gonna get all the fallout but we’re doing it here. You guys don’t issue the permit,’ and then we can’t be the involved party,” Bolotow said.
“The language is very vague, I have to say, for what allows you to be an involved party,” Paynter said.
Council member Laura Ricci said it is worth it to talk to the Saugerties planning secretary to try and become an involved party that way. Woodstock is on a list that is labeled “Interested/involved parties,” she noted. “I will go back to her and ask her to clarify what she views us as and talk about the points you just mentioned, and say we think we should be involved. Because one way goes through the lawyers. The other one is just go to the source and say, Hey, can you make us involved?”
Ratcliff said it shouldn’t matter that the wetlands being affected are across a town border.
“If I own this piece of land, it has a wetland on it, and it’s on the border, and they tear up the wetland and it kills the wetland here, and then somebody comes and says, ‘Hey, you killed your wetland,’ And I say, ‘I didn’t do it,’ I am going to be liable as the property owner, and the town of Woodstock should be protecting that wetland with the property owner,” he said. “There is a law that says that is what you should be doing. It doesn’t say, if the destruction happens here, there or somewhere else, it says that that wetland is protected. So I do believe that we are going to have to force in some way shape or form whether it’s asking and they comply, the Terramor people to come for a permit if they are choosing to destroy the wetland on the Saugerties side, which will destroy the wetland on the Woodstock side.”
Richard Buck, whose property is next to the proposed development, tried to drive home the point that it affects Woodstock more than Saugerties.
“I’m speaking to you because it’s a practical matter. We are right there. I don’t care about just over the border…Fact is the Terramor project is two and a half miles from Woodstock. It’s 10 from Saugerties. I’m kind of talking now to the Town Board as much as I’m talking to anybody. We want the Town Board to stand up for us.”