'Glamping' plan worries camp's neighbors

Hundreds of Melville residents have signed a petition against a plan that would bring so-called glamping — or up-scale camping — to the grounds of the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts

"This has been in the works for a year and a half, but we only found out three weeks ago," Michael Rosedale said. 

Letters were sent to Usdan neighbors notifying them of a proposed plan to construct up to 70 luxury-style tents with platforms in the woods of its 140-acre property. 

People we spoke with say while they are supportive of the day camp, which has been around for decades, they're concerned that overnight accommodations, if approved, would transform the nonprofit's grounds into a transient outdoor destination for eight months of the year.

"The noise, the traffic, the pollution — the list goes on and on," Shari Delouya said. 

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Other issues people cited include guests drinking, smoking, and illegal campfires. 

The team members at Usdan said they share the same concerns and want to address them together. 

"It's like camp for families or camp for adults," Usdan executive director Lauren Brandt Schloss said. 

No living trees would be cut during the construction, according to Usdan's proposal. Additionally, 24-hour security and fencing would be installed.

Officials said the money raised would go towards scholarship funds for summer arts students. And the majority of families taking part would be affiliated with Usdan looking for overnight arts experiences.

"Someone is unlikely to spend $500 to 600 to then trespass into the neighborhood," Usdan chief operating officer Joe Levy said.

A public hearing is scheduled for April 7 at Huntington Town Hall. Both sides will be given the option to speak. The town will make a decision on whether a special use permit will be issued.