Gay retreat prevails in Vermont

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 31 2002 1:00 AM ET

Faerie Camp Destiny Inc., a proposed Vermont retreat for gay men, has received its land use permit over the objections of some neighbors.

Faerie Camp Destiny, which owns 150 forested acres near Grafton, plans to construct a warm-weather campground for up to 78 people per day. The development will include a kitchen, a bathing and toilet facility, a 2,000-foot road, and parking for 60 vehicles. Gatherings are expected to average about 40 to 45 people.

Neighbors and some Grafton officials had requested a hearing on what had been considered a minor application, expressing concerns about the camp. Planning commission chairman Harold Igoe said a perusal of the group's Web site turned up some "kind of repulsive" photos. He and some neighbors said they were worried about issues such as nudity and argued that the camp would cause depreciation of property values.

Faerie Camp member Jim Jackson of Cambridge, Mass., conceded that there might be some clothing-optional functions at the retreat. But neighbors have nothing to worry about, he said, because the campground is far removed from its neighbors.

Jackson said Faerie Camp members were surprised the process of obtaining the land permit had been so lengthy, adding that the experience had been a learning experience. "We did realize it would be good for us to attempt to develop better relations with our neighbors and the community," Jackson said. "It's important to try to make friends with the local people."