HIGHLAND, NY — The Camp FIMFO project in the Town of Highland could have a major impact on the town. Northgate Resorts, in partnership with Sun Communities, plans to spend around $44.9 million …
HIGHLAND, NY — The Camp FIMFO project in the Town of Highland could have a major impact on the town. Northgate Resorts, in partnership with Sun Communities, plans to spend around $44.9 million renovating the former Kittatinny Campground into an all-inclusive family resort, and the project’s scale befits its costs, with a mountain coaster, pool and water play area and RV park; the final figure dependent on planning board approvals, according to Alex Betke, a lawyer with Brown & Weinraub speaking on behalf of the project.
Documents recently received by the River Reporter help shed light on the project’s potential impacts. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network shared with the River Reporter the results of a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request it made of the Town of Highland regarding the Camp FIMFO project; the documentation in that request included a link to Northgate Resorts’ most recent submission to the Highland Planning Board. That contained documents including the project’s part 1 Environmental Assessment Form (EAF).
The EAF process occurs under the State Environmental Quality Review act (SEQR); SEQR ensures that the planning board fully consider the environmental impacts of a proposed project before approving it.
A project’s applicant fills out part 1 of the EAF, answering questions about environmental impact. The planning board fills out parts 2 and 3, using part 1 to determine whether the project will have a substantial effect on the environment.
If the board believes the project won’t impact the environment, it will issue a “negative declaration,” ending the SEQR review process. The board can also issue a “positive declaration,” requiring an extensive process of review with an Environmental Impact Assessment and a public hearing.
Camp FIMFO’s EAF identifies a number of ways in which the project could affect the environment.
In the latest presentation to the planning board, engineers from LaBella, which is shepherding the project through the permitting process, indicated that of the 324 campsites, 234 will be equipped with water, sewer and electric connections, and 108 will continue to use bathhouses.
PMRVs can be up to 15 feet wide or 36 feet long, with in-built porches, peaked roofs and wooden sidings. “Although the distinctive appearance of PMRVs may sometimes lead people to think they look like small manufactured homes… there is no practical difference in the use of PMRVs than travel trailers or fifth-wheel trailers,” reads an industry description of these units included in the planning board submission.
The planning board will review the EAF as part of its process of review and make either a negative or a positive declaration. The timing of that determination remains uncertain as of yet; the planning board has indicated it won’t set a public hearing for the project until the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) and the National Park Service (NPS) weigh in. (Click here for coverage of that planning board meeting.)
The EAF lists several other permits and reviews the project needs for implementation, as well as a timeline for those permits. Kittatinny plans to apply for a SPDES wastewater permit and to get consultation on water treatment and design in the summer of 2022, working with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health.
It plans to apply to the Department of Transportation for a highway work permit in the winter of 2022/23, and a building permit from the town around the same time. Later in 2023, Kittatinny plans to go before the Upper Delaware River Basin Commission for environmental review, and to go before the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency for a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement.
The project aimed for a second quarter 2024 completion, according to Betke; “Construction will not start without the appropriate, required approvals and permits.”
Click here, or see the sidebar above, for a poll on Highland's review of Camp FIMFO.
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