Public hearing scheduled in Ava for proposed retreat
AVA — The Town of Ava Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on a proposed campsite and retreat by the Restore Forward LLC on a 300-acre site near Webster Hill Road.
The site — about five miles east of Route 26 and about 10 miles south of Boonville — was used by the Rome Air Development Center, now known as the Rome Air Force Research Laboratory, for electronic research testing beginning around 1957. Referred to as the Ava Test Annex by the Air Force, among its functions were the testing and development of long-distance radio transmitters and over-the-horizon missile detection systems. The Air Force stopped using the site in the late 1990s.
The town purchased it from the federal Government Services Administration about 20 years ago for approximately $20,000. The site has been dormant since then except for some use for storage by the highway department until it was sold to Black Women’s Blueprint. The organization had submitted a plan for the project before the town’s Planning Board back in May 2021.
The public hearing on the project has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the Leatherstocking BSA’s Camp Kingsley, 5330 Tuffy Road.
According to the application by Restore Forward, LLC, which is affiliated with the Black Women’s Blueprint, Inc, and headquartered at 201 Main St. in Boonville, the project is intended to create a campground to provide a holistic-themed retreat available to all people so they can camp, visit, restore themselves, and participate in holistic education activities such as workshops, yoga, reiki, spa, meditation, pottery, zen gardens, gardening, art, readings, studies, as well as recreational activities.
“The Project proposes a campus or cluster of structures centrally located within the Parent Parcel to have the least impact on the environment and preserve the natural surrounding areas,” the application states. “The Campground structures will use the already cleared and previously used lands on the property, and will also minimize roads and other infrastructure needed to service the development. Only approximately three percent (3%) of the Parent Parcel will be developed with structures or pavement.”
“The vast majority will be undeveloped so as to maintain a natural, campground setting, including nearly all of the existing wooded area and wetlands. The Campground has also been planned and designed to reduce the impact on the environment in other ways such as by using low- flow water and composting toilets, and low-flow sinks and appliances to reduce water needs,” the application adds.
“The layout includes small nodes (or pods) within the developed portion of the Project to ensure the Project fits into the natural environment, and creates a quality experience for visitors. The Project, located in a quiet, wooded agricultural area, is consistent and in harmony with the Applicant’s goal of creating a relaxing, serene Campground experience, and the existing character of the area,” the application reads.
“Further, with the exception of the proposed gatehouse at the entrance to the Campground, the closest property line to any Campground improvement is over four hundred (400) feet away. The closest neighboring structure to any Campground improvement is at least one thousand (1,000) feet away. The Site is predominantly wooded, and the development and open space where campground activities will take place are largely at the center of the Parent Parcel,” the application adds.
“Moreover, the Campground is fully screened by mature trees with hundreds, if not thousands of feet of depth to the nearest neighbor. Accordingly, there will be no issues with lights or noise impacts from the Campground. Traffic generation will be minor and, further, once a camper enters the Campground the intent and purpose is for them to stay on the Site for a number of days. An estimated stay would average three (3) days. The amount of traffic will be minimal given the size of the property and use proposed.”
A copy of the proposed project is available on the town website at https://townava.digitaltowpath.org:10016/content/News/View/80. A copy is also available at the Town Hall, 11468 State Rt. 26, Ava, NY 13303 and may also be viewed by appointment. To schedule an appointment, contact the Town Hall during regular business hours by calling 315-942-5669 or by calling James Ossont, Supervisor at 315-942-5204 or Jeannie Dano, Town Clerk at 315-942-4638.
Written comments may be mailed to Town of Ava, PO Box 68, Ava, NY 13303 and need to be received by Tuesday, Nov. 1.
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