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Duanesburg planners to review Camp Bisco tonight

Thursday, April 19, 2012
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— The town Planning Board will host a public hearing on proposed changes to a mass gathering permit that allows the Indian Lookout Country Club to host the annual Camp Bisco festival each summer.

Organizers are revising plans for the three-day music festival to limit the impact it has on the residential area around Mariaville Lake. Representatives from an engineering company hired by festival organizer MCP Presents to reduce the impact on nearby residences will outline some of the proposed changes to the event this year during a public hearing scheduled for the board’s meeting at 7 this evening in Town Hall.

The organizers are proposing to post portable toilets and trash receptacles along Batter Street and at nearby off-site parking lots. They plan to have a waste removal company sweep the roadway to clean up debris. The firm is also agreeing to provide a notarized copy of the number of ticket holders. Last year, some organizers estimated more than 17,000 fans attended, but no official count was ever produced.

Other steps include limiting the number of passenger vehicles on the campground to 3,000, with additional space for 4,000 cars at three off-site locations that will have shuttle buses to bring fans to Indian Lookout, owned by Frank Potter. MCP Presents proposes opening the venue gates during the pre-dawn hours on Thursday, allowing an estimated 30 percent to 50 percent of Camp Bisco traffic to arrive during off-peak hours. Until now, the gates for the Thursday-Saturday event have opened Thursday afternoons.

The event this year is July 12-14.

In addition, organizers propose offering rewards to fans who carpool and will encourage fans to use ride sharing websites to reduce vehicle traffic. The purchase of “car camping passes” will be required for fans setting up tents next to their vehicles, in an attempt to further encourage carpooling.

Camp Bisco first came to the sleepy hamlet of Mariaville in 2006 with roughly 5,000 fans. But in the five years since, the festival has more than tripled in size.

The crowds have drawn increasing ire from residents around Mariaville Lake. Traffic snarls left some residents trapped in their driveways and the influx — nearly three times the population of the surrounding town of Duanesburg — prompted many to complain about quality-of-life issues: fans urinating on lawns, trash discarded on the street and the clouds of exhaust belched from hundreds of idling cars.

Promoters have pledged to make improvements this year.

 
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