It’s changeover time

Northgate to modernize and rebrand Kittatinny site

Posted 6/1/22

BARRYVILLE, NY — Camp Fimfo is in the making. The resort, located at the former Kittatinny Campground, is being redone. Totally.

Caren LoBrutto from LaBella Associates outlined the plan at …

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It’s changeover time

Northgate to modernize and rebrand Kittatinny site


BARRYVILLE, NY — Camp Fimfo is in the making. The resort, located at the former Kittatinny Campground, is being redone. Totally.

Caren LoBrutto from LaBella Associates outlined the plan at the May 24 meeting of the Highland Planning Board. Also in attendance were Jody Allen of LaBella, Rocco Baldassari, general manager of Kittatinny-Northgate Resorts, Mary Campbell, project manager for Northgate Resorts and Upper Delaware Council (UDC) resources and land use specialist Kerry Engelhardt.

LaBella is a Rochester-based architecture and engineering firm that has been hired by Northgate Resorts and Sun Communities to shepherd the $40 to $50 million renovation and expansion through the permitting process.

The planning board will act as lead agency. It will forward the application, when completed, to the various governmental agencies that need to permit the different parts of this project. When all of the conditions and approvals are received, the planning board will give site plan approval to go ahead. This will be a months-long process with a public hearing date anticipated no sooner than August.

The details

Some of Kittatinny’s activities will remain the same. According to the presentation, the proposed project will use the 342 existing campsites from April through October, and maintain the paintball and zipline activities. The plan then takes off with the construction of an earth-hugging mountain coaster, several pools and a mini-golf course. It is proposed that the mountain coaster, situated on the Dry Brook side of the property, would be open for public use.

The adventure center is targeted to be demolished and replaced with a slightly larger welcome center. Plans include the removal of the maintenance center and replacement with a slightly larger one. The camp store is expected to be converted to food service. The traditional tent camping sites, with general-use water spigots and bathhouses, will be outfitted with park-style RVs, each equipped with electric, water and sewer.

And with that, the project becomes a massive land-use change.

The permitting process

As Camp Fimfo is situated in the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River corridor, the project must go through review by the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) and the National Park Service (NPS) and be in substantial conformance with the river management plan. The wastewater system requires permitting through the New York State Department of Health. The stormwater system needs to be permitted by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, and modification to Route 97 must be approved by the state Department of Transportation.

While the board didn’t exactly know what changes would occur, planning board chair Norm Sutherland mentioned that perhaps a turning lane would be added. The county planning department will be reviewing the project under the 239 municipal review to ensure that it is in compliance with Highland’s comprehensive plan.

The proposed project anticipates that 40,000 gallons a day of water will be used, generating 34,400 gallons of wastewater. Well houses will be built around the six wells, water mains installed and 16 Eljen septic systems will be installed. The presentation outlined biobasins that would hold stormwater runoff and drain into Beaver Brook, the Delaware Canal or into the Delaware.

The first sticking point

While the presentation was complete, the plans that were submitted to the planning board for their March meeting are lacking details of the infrastructure improvements.

“There’s is no grading plan, no cross section, no runoff delineation,” Sutherland said. “Stream modification is not there. Signage, crosswalks, water mains.”

LoBrutto said that those details were not available in March, and that much progress had been made since then, as reflected in the presentation.

Sutherland suggested that the company submit complete plans before the June meeting, after which the board would forward them to the UDC and the NPS for review. He suggested that the public hearing be held after receiving the UDC’s comments. “I don’t want to go out to the public without hearing the UDC input,” he said.

Member Jeff Spitz asked whether there would be further phases beyond the presented one, specifically asking about a group of campsites referred to as the 700s and 800s. LoBrutto replied, “Not at this time. Nothing is happening there. I can’t promise you that they won’t come back in the future, but right now it is not part of the project.”

LoBrutto asked a clarifying question about the 100-foot setback on the river, wanting to know what was allowed there. “A setback is a setback,” attorney to the town Michael Davidoff said. Sutherland said he would get clarification from Keystone, Highland’s consulting firm, which reviews proposed projects for regulation compliance. Payment for those services are covered by the escrow provided by the company.

Andy Boyar, speaking as a resident and not representing the UDC—of which he is the chair—asked whether the improvements would become tax ratables, as the presentation included a bullet point about application for a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) from the county’s Industrial Development Agency. “The former owners, when they made improvements, paid their fair share. It would be absolutely outrageous if [this corporation] does not pay,” he said.

He also asked about the impact on police and fire services of almost doubling the population of the Town of Highland on a busy weekend.

Sutherland thanked Boyar for his input and suggested that if he had other thoughts that he present them at the public hearing. “We’ll take all advice,” he said.

Click here for additional information and the Camp Fimfo presentation.

Camp Fimfo, Kittatinny Campground, LaBella Associates, Highland Planning Board, Northgate Resorts, Upper Delaware Council, public hearing


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