Oorah's Boy Zone evacuates campers

A Jewish summer camp for boys, which was slated to open this week on the grounds of the former Scotch Valley Ski Resort in Jefferson, had to send all its campers home on Sunday, reports the Mountain Eagle.

The camp -- Jewish Boy Zone, which is owned by Oorah Inc. -- is no stranger to controversy. The town of Jefferson has been embroiled in a legal battle with it for months, and its sister camp, Jewish Girl Zone in Gilboa, also has had legal troubles with its neighbors.

According to the Eagle, Boy Zone was evacuated over the weekend after it brought campers to the site without having received an official certificate of occupancy deeming the location safe:

Last week, there were multiple reports from community members concerned about bus loads of children being transported around the community as workers at the facility worked to complete ... construction work at Oorah. It is all work that is needed to be completed before they can apply for a certificate of occupancy (CO). Until a CO has been issued the campers are not permitted to stay at the BoyZone Camp.

One of the community reports came from two members of the local fire department who inspected the property for violations last Friday. One of those officials, Doug Murphy, owns easements on the land being developed by Oorah, the newspaper notes:

Murphy stated he observed individuals entering and exiting the old trophy lodge buildings and that an estimated 100 kids in their teens seemed to be residing in buildings although no certificates of occupancy were issued.

Murphy also said the integrity of the roof on the main lodge may be problematic.

“We were dripped on from a roof that has a history of major leak problems inside the main lodge,” he stated.

....“We are concerned that our government would allow that many people to be housed in a construction zone that has no coordination with the emergency services that would be expected to mitigate any of several potential disasters. We are concerned that a large organization would show such disregard for that government and its attempts to assure safety,” Murphy stated.