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Village of Ateres On Hold After NYS Assembly Fails To Pass Amendments Exempting It From New Village Law; Bethel Woods to Open Glamping Site; Briefs

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Village of Ateres On Hold After NYS Assembly Fails To Pass Amendments Exempting It From New Village Law

When Governor Hochul signed legislation in December that raised the minimum number of residents needed to establish a new village and added new hurdles, she asked the New York State Legislature to pass amendments that would have exempted the Sullivan County proposed village of Ateres from the new restrictions.

The measure passed the Senate but has yet to clear the New York State Assembly. That failure has caused the referenda scheduled for January 18th in the Towns of Thompson and Fallsburg to be put on hold.

The Viznitz Hasidic community originally proposed the creation of a village last June when the required resident threshold was only 500. The Viznitz community has approximately 834 adults and children and covers 929 acres of land, primarily in the town of Thompson with a small portion in the neighboring town of Fallsburg.

The new law, raising the population threshold and adding required studies and approvals, was designed to update an archaic law that created unsustainable villages. The law also requires a state commission to decide whether to allow a village referendum to proceed. That panel would conduct two separate studies of feasibility and impact.

New York has 532 villages, most of which were created in the 1800s and early 1900s to provide services to growing areas. New ones are rare, with just six formed in the last 30 years and one of those already disbanded. Residents have voted 28 villages out of existence over those same three decades, including the Village of South Nyack.

Under the requested amendments, the village of Ateres would have been exempt from these new requirements.

In a media release, Thompson Town Supervisor Bill Rieber wrote that he and Fallsburg Town Supervisor Michael Bensimon “waited until the last possible moment” to cancel the vote while awaiting action by the New York State Assembly. “At this point we have no other option but to adjourn the Referendum since, in its current stance, the Petition does not comply with the new Village Law as currently constructed and same has not been specifically allowed to proceed,” Rieber said in his statement. As previously stated, we are taking no definitive action on the matter until final determinations are made by the Assembly and at that point we will move forward pursuant to the Law, as it will exist.”

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts to Open Glamping Site at Historic Festival Location

Remember those images of the three-day mud-soaked carpet of hippies that filled the 1969 Woodstock Festival in 1969. Bet they would not have minded a little glamping back then – though that was not yet a thing.

Glamping has taken off, and now Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, NY, is adding “hotelier” to its list of offerings, along with museum and concerts. This May, the center will be offering a state-of-the-art campground with everything from basic tent campsites to groovy glamping tents complete with beds, showers, and Wi-Fi.

We’ve come a long way, baby!

Camping will be available on concert and festival days during the 2024 season, which runs from May to October.

Bethel Woods has operated at the Woodstock festival site since 2006.

The nonprofit performance venue said in a statement that it is the first venue “of its kind” to offer campground facilities of this caliber. The pitch-a-tent campsites are 20-feet by 20-feet. Access to nearby portable toilets, handwashing stations and showers are included. Each reservation includes up to four guests per site, but additional guest passes can be purchased.

Orange County Land Trust Closes On $2.35 Million Purchase of Open Space

The Orange County Land Trust has closed on the $2.35 million purchase of more than 320 acres of land that will open public access to Sugar Loaf Mountain’s summit for the first time.

Sugar Loaf
Photo: Orange County Land Trust

Kyle Sanduski, the project manager and director of conservation at the land trust, said nearly 310 acres will be protected and given to Orange County for incorporation into its parks system. The purchase will be connected to Goosepond Mountain State Park, a 1,700-acre park in Orange County operated by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. A trail connection will lead from the west side of the Sugar Loaf Mountain property, near the downtown arts and crafts village, through the property, up to the summit and onto the Highlands Trail.

The remaining 10 acres, which has an old farmhouse, will be up for sale.

The purchase was made possible through Walden Savings Bank, which pledged a loan to the organization. The land trust also received grant funding from the state Department of Environmental Conservation; its nonprofit partner, Land Trust Alliance; and Scenic Hudson, and community members raised more than $220,000.

The land trust over the past 18 months, secured an option agreement to buy it from the Palmer family, who owned the mountain. The property has been designated by the New York Natural Heritage Program as a “significant ecological community” because of its closed-canopy deciduous forest with areas of rocky ridgetop grassland habitat. It is also identified in Orange County Land Trust’s strategic land conservation plan as a “Tier 1 Priority Conservation Area.”

The mountain, which the Sugar Loaf hamlet in Chester is named for, is the subject of several paintings in the late 1800s by Hudson River School artist Jasper Francis Cropsey and is a cherished landmark among generations of area residents.