SARATOGA — There will be no camping for Phish fans at Lee’s Park on Route 9P this Aug. 18 when the band comes to town, campground owner Leo Nosal Jr. confirmed Monday.
After receiving a complaint, the state Department of Health investigated the site on Saratoga Lake and told Nosal he needs to make some changes to his operation, which he advertises as having more than 10 acres of tent sites.
On his Web site, Nosal posted a message explaining his decision: “Due to laws and guidelines imposed by the Town of Saratoga and NYS Board of Health, I have no choice but to cancel any and all concert camping here,” he wrote.
According to DOH spokesperson Beth Goldberg, the DOH did not tell Nosal to cancel camping for Phish fans. She said the department’s investigation stemmed from a complaint raised by town Supervisor Tom Wood about unsanitary conditions in the park during the weekend of June 12 and 13, while many Dave Matthews Band concertgoers were camping at Lee’s Park.
DOH, which issues permits to campgrounds statewide, inspected the site and “found that not only were there unsanitary conditions, but they were allowing campers in a section of the park that had not been approved for camping,” Goldberg said. They found dumpsters overflowing with trash and portable toilets in unapproved areas, she said.
Goldberg said Nosal was very cooperative and agreed to work with DOH inspectors to remedy the problems at his campground. “He intends to submit an engineering site plan for that area,” she said, which is the first step of the process to apply for a campground permit for the section of his property that has not been approved as a camping area. The site plan will detail information about the size of the site, distance to bath facilities and location of utilities. He also will have to get the plan approved by the local zoning and planning boards, she said.
On his Web site Nosal wrote on July 9 that the process will likely take a long time, saying, “I was told by the engineers that I am several months away from being able to use the fields.”
Nosal declined to comment for this story.
As far as Nosal’s decision to cancel all camping for the Phish concert, Wood and Goldberg said that was his. “We were not aware of that decision, so that must have been his own decision,” Goldberg said.
Although rumors have circulated that the town is trying to shut Lee’s Park down, Wood dismissed the idea as “unfounded and ridiculous.”
“He’s a good member of the community, and we have no reservations about him or his business,” he said, adding that his priority is to ensure the safety of all campers. “I felt it was my responsibility … to make sure things are safe.”