• Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Some residents take issue with proposed ‘glamping’ on summer camp property in Melville

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Mar 29, 2022

MELVILLE, NY –A plan to bring “glamping” to a Long Island summer camp property has pushback neighbors.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported on 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 non-profit Usdan is set in 140 wooded acres, but neighbors say they were stunned by the latest camp offer.

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

READ MORE: Finally, glamping is coming to 2 Long Island state parks, and the locals couldn’t be happier

Adult glamping is offered with 70 tents from March to November. The camp property adjoins Barry Tetenbaum’s house.

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

Hundreds signed a petition.

“We would like to be able to enjoy our backyards without worrying about strangers lurking in the woods,” Michael Rosedale said.

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

“What’s up with camping? A campfire. It can quickly get out of hand and burn houses to the foundations.” said Dominick Feeney.

“Imagine 240 people walking through these woods. Food, rats and rodents,” Rosedale added.

READ MORE: Are you ready to glamp on Long Island?

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

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

Security cameras and fencing will be added. Additionally, fires will not be permitted and there will be no smoking, no alcohol and no removal of live trees, Usdan officials said.

“It will be done with taste, with respect for the community,” Usdan attorney John Armentano said.

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

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

The City of Huntington now allows glamping to preserve open spaces.

Opposition residents plan to hold a zoning hearing on April 7. Usdan representatives say they welcome this and have had one-on-one dialogues with any concerned neighbors.