Camping Proposal for Former Boy Scout Site in Burrillville Withdrawn
April 24, 2023
BURRILLVILLE, R.I. — Getaway House, a company known for its tiny-house glamping sites, has withdrawn its plans for a project on the Boy Scouts’ former Cub World property, leaving the future of the 200-acre parcel undecided.
Some residents had been wary of the proposed 65-cabin camp site on Buck Hill Road and expressed their concerns about environmental impacts and lack of formal protections on the land at a February Planning Board meeting.
But it was the financial viability of the project that ultimately killed it.
“We withdrew our application for a combination of reasons that impacted the financial performance of the project (interest rates, shallow rock, archeological/environmental site features, etc.),” Scott Levit, Getaway’s senior manager of real estate entitlement, wrote in an email to ecoRI News.
It had been reported that the noise from Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in nearby Thompson, Conn., also impacted the decision, but Levit noted Getaway “did not withdraw our application specifically due to noise.”
The Getaway site plan had been approved by the Planning Board in February and had moved to the Zoning Board of Review before it was withdrawn.
“We still think it’s a great place for camping,” Ray Goff, the town’s planning director, told ecoRI News, adding that he believes the town would be supportive of another campsite proposal.
The Cub World parcel is about 200 acres out of the more than 1,000 that the Boy Scouts of America’s Narragansett Council owns in the area.
The campsite used to host large Scout meetings and has a maximum occupancy of 300 people, but for the past few years, the site had only been used on the weekends by small groups of campers, according to Tim McCandless, Scout executive and CEO of the Narragansett Council of Boy Scouts of America.
“Getaways informed us of a change in plans for their company and so their proposal has been withdrawn,” McCandless said in a statement emailed to ecoRI News. “At this point the property continues to be available to the right purchaser, either as open space or for development, depending on the response from the open marketplace. We appreciate the time and interest of the town government on this matter and look forward to continuing to work with them.”
Some locals had speculated that land might be vulnerable for sale in the midst of a precarious financial situation for the Scouts; the organization recently settled a national sexual abuse case and filed for bankruptcy.
McCandless previously told ecoRI News that the sale of the property had been considered before those events.
If the area in question is wooded, it is invaluable for helping with climate change through carbon sequestration in trees, slowing rainfall so there’s less runoff and greater chance for the rain to sink slowly down, getting filtered and cleaned before it reaches the aquifer. Can this land be saved?