Camp opens under orders

A summer camp that has drawn complaints from its neighbors reopened over the weekend in apparent com

A summer camp that has drawn complaints from its neighbors reopened over the weekend in apparent compliance with court-ordered restrictions. The neighbors have complained about bright sports lights and noise from loudspeakers and go-carts.

“It’s such a relief not to have those lights shining in my house and the fumes and noise from those machines,” said adjoining Parliman Road property owner David Lewis on Monday.

An order signed Friday by state Supreme Court Judge Eugene P. Devine prevents the camp from operating its 97 high-intensity field lights after 10 p.m. The lights are on 60-foot poles.

It also limits use of the public address system and closes the go-cart track between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.

“I have my life back,” Lewis said. He is one of nine neighbors who sought the order. The group is also continuing a $10 million lawsuit alleging reduced property values caused by the Lakewood, N.J.-based camp . Camp officials say they are trying to help culturally deprived and underprivileged New York City area Jewish children.

As part of Devine’s order, the plaintiffs in the suit are required to post a $25,000 bond in the event camp operators later show damages result from the limits on activities, according to Oorah attorney Kevin Young.

“What the order does, in essence, is we can’t use our athletic field after 10 o’clock at night,” Young said.

“We built the fields and installed the lights to play sports at night. They’ve given them an hour [after dark] to use the lights,” he said.

“We have approximately 450 people,” including about 300 children and about 150 staff and counselors, according to Young.

“The mission is to help these children get their lives together,” he said.

“When the younger children go to bed, the older teenagers have their time,” Young said.

“We can’t use these fields, so we’ll have to find other things for them to do,” he said.

The camp has passed required health inspections to open last Friday in compliance with its children’s camp permit, Schoharie County Public Health Director Kathleen Farrell Strack said Monday.

The camp permit includes authorization for a temporary residence, swimming pool and food services, according to Strack.

Last June, the county Health Department shut the camp for two days after it was found in violation of codes and its sewage handling system was over capacity.

“We were there daily last week to make sure that there wasn’t a repeat of what happened last year,” Strack said. The camp also faces state Department of Environmental Conservation requirements to upgrade its sewage treatment facilities. The DEC has suspended fines imposed last year while the camp works on the problem.

Categories: Schenectady County

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