About 150 residents upset about the potential environmental and community impact of the proposed reopening of a summer camp around Little Fresh Pond in North Sea packed Southampton Town Hall last night before a public hearing on the matter.

The hearing was to appeal the building inspection approval.

The proposed Southampton Day Camp, which has been closed for about 30 years, is on Major's Path and is owned by Jay Jacobs, chairman of the state's Democratic Party. He bought the property last year for $7 million. He wants permission to operate a camp there with as many as 400 school-age campers and 100 staff members, some of whom would be housed on site during the 10-week school vacation season.

Celeste Frank, who lives next door to the proposed camp, said before the hearing that she and her husband are devastated after learning that building plans place a toddler pool close to their fence.

"It is so peaceful," she said of the community. "That's why we bought here."

Others voiced concerns about increased traffic, noise and the effect on the pond, where residents and others swim and fish in the summer and ice skate in the winter.

"What about the chlorine in the four pools? The bug spray on the kids? The flushing toilets?" said Ivan Bart, whose home faces the pond.

The town's five trustees, who are responsible for the environmental health of the town's water bodies, asked the Zoning Board of Appeals to require a conservation easement on part of the property, and maintain a buffer to the pond.

"We are fearful that a large institution could lead to trouble," said Southampton Trustee Fred Havemeyer, who recommends that covenants be put in place to ensure its intended use as a summer camp only.

The town allows uses for camps in residential areas without approval of the zoning board of appeals, said Jacobs' attorney, Wayne Bryn of Southampton, noting that the area has been used for tennis camps in the past.

The residents, a mix of families and retirees who live in relatively modest homes that encircle the pond, said they are worried about the effect of sewage from the camp on the pond. No motor boating is allowed on the pond, and neighbors agree not to use pesticides on their lawns.

Jacobs plans to clear some trees, pave parking areas and refurbish laundry and toilet facilities, according to the site plan.

Jacobs, who runs a similar camp in East Hampton, has taken out full-page advertisements in local weekly newspapers saying that the camp's sewage capacity would equal only 20 percent of a nearby home, and the groundwater flows to the south, away from the pond.

The county public health department has not issued a decision on the proposed camp. The board is not expected to make a decision on Jacobs' request for several weeks.

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