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Liberty residents protest camp violations

By Fritz Mayer
May 11, 2011

Highview Acres Road is a dead-end street full of tidy ranch houses. At the end of the road is a newly built construction road cut into the woods to allow the owners of Hasc Summer Camp to access a remote portion of the property to build two large dormitories, 52 feet by 90 feet in size, and a single-family house.

About 20 members of the neighborhood turned out to the Liberty Planning Board meeting on May 2 to lodge protests regarding several issues.

Resident Fred Thompson echoed a concern mentioned several times when he said he had received no notice about the construction project, which is required by town code. Town officials acknowledged that because of an oversight, a number of residents who should have received notice did not.

Resident James Green said the construction road that was built was not shown on the building plan, and was created without permission.

Another concern was the location of the parking lot for the facility. Resident Joann Malley asked whether the parking lot would lead to much increased traffic on the dead-end street.

Several residents said the plan for the dormitory buildings called for them to be built too close to a stream protected by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Therefore, the camp moved the location of the buildings, but without getting approval from the planning board, which is a violation of code.

Another resident said the deed to the property in question had a requirement that the property could never be used for road access from Highview Acres Road into the camp.

Resident David Pollack said, “Everybody here has valid concerns and I’d like to see the town stand up for the local residents, and stop these tax-exempt organizations from taking over, ruining other people’s property and doing whatever the heck they want.”

After the residents had their say, planning board member Dean Farrand said that in his six years on the board this was the largest number of complaints he had seen against a project, and he suggested that because the board does not have the authority to instruct the code enforcement officer to issue a stop-work order, the board should revoke the permit.

Randy Wassen, the engineer on the project, asked the board not to revoke the permit, but said that he would urge his client to adhere to a stop-work order if one were issued.

Mark VanEtten, the code enforcement officer, said he would
issue a stop work order, which will remain in effect until he has time to examine the matter.