Express News Staff
RAQUETTE LAKE -- About 15 people showed up at the Raquette Lake Union Free School here for the Long Lake Town Board meeting Wednesday, May 28.
This was a good turnout for the small hamlet before the start of the summer season when the population increases significantly.
What brought the locals out was their desire to push the board into doing something to curtail what many consider to be excessive noise in late August when a group calling itself WeWork rents the Boys and Girls camps at Raquette Lake Camp for several days of fun -- fun that drew over 600 young adults last year and included loud music that lasted well into the night.
Their fear is the problem could be even worse this year when over 1,000 campers are expected for the Aug. 22-24 event.
In response the board voted to have Supervisor Clark Seaman and the attorney for the town contact the organizers of WeWork "Summer Camp 2014" and the owners of Raquette Lake Camp to discuss concerns; seek assistance from Hamilton County government, the district attorney, Sheriff Karl Abrams, State Police and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation; and report back to the community within 45 days with recommendations, including a possible amendment to the Hamilton County Local Noise Law and a possible town noise law.
HAS NO TEETH
Abrams said his department would do all it can to legally address residents' concerns and enforce the local law. But, he said, "The county law doesn't have much of a bite. Last year we wrote a ticket with a $100 fine and were asked, 'Can we pay the fine now?'"
Abrams also pointed out the state and DEC police enforce only state laws, not local town or county laws.
Several residents asked if there is any way to shut down the event. "I don't believe we can shut it down but we should be able to stop the noise after 11 p.m.," Seaman said.
Councilman Dean Pohl said, "All we are talking about is excessive noise. I applaud them for bringing 600 people into town. But this late night noise needs to stop."
When someone suggested raising the fine for violating the noise law from $100 to $20,000, Seaman pointed out, "You couldn't just limit it to this one event. The $20,000 fine would apply to anyone who broke the law."
EMS A CONCERN
Several suggested that during talks with the owners and promoters they be reminded Raquette Lake is a very small community and its emergency service providers might not be sufficient to provide services if something should happen.
Seaman promised to relay this concern.
WeWork has a web page promoting the event at summercamp.wework.com/. In addition to nightly entertainment its clientele of young, urban professionals is offered many other events and activities.