Residents raise concerns about traffic connected to proposed Mayfield RV park

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Left: Members of the public line up outside of the Mayfield Planning Board meeting Wednesday night. Right: Karen Bruce of Gloversville tells the Planning Board how much she believes a proposed RV park to be located south of Woods Hollow Road would impact traffic fatalities in Fulton County.

After two previously scheduled Mayfield Town Planning Board were canceled, members of the public were given the chance to provide comments to the board Wednesday night about a proposed Recreational Vehicle Park to be located on the north side of Route 30 and south of Woods Hollow Road.

Dozens of people packed into the Mayfield municipal building, many of them residents of Woods Hollow Road, and most of them against the project proposed by Lane and Kalei Winney, owners of the 84-acre parcel where the park would be built.

One common complaint from the public was that the project will produce too much traffic on Woods Hollow Road, an approximately 2-mile-long, dead end drive with mostly yearlong residents living on it.

One of the speakers, Karen Bruce, a nurse practitioner from Gloversville with a clinic in Broadalbin, said she had looked forward to retiring to Mayfield. But, she thinks she might need to change those plans now, if the RV park disturbs the natural tranquility she had expected to find on Woods Hollow Road.

Bruce also said she thinks the increased traffic will prove to be deadly, making the Planning Board’s decision one of life and death. She said she’s seen traffic fatalities firsthand, and she doesn’t want to see more of them.

“I’m usually the first responder, it usually takes EMS eight to ten minutes to get there, the sheriff usually gets there a little before that, but I’m there first,” she said, “and it’s horrible; it’s carnage, and it’s going to increase, there is no doubt in my mind, and this makes me very upset.”

The Planning Board became the lead agency for the state Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process for the proposed RV park on Oct. 20, 2021. Wednesday night served as the public hearing for the SEQR process in advance of the board’s decision on whether or not to declare the project would have an environmental impact requiring the applicant to provide a plan to mitigate that impact.

Fulton County Planner Sean Geraghty, who works as consultant advising the board, told the crowd upfront that no decision would be made on the SEQR process Wednesday night, and that it wouldn’t be prudent for the board to listen to a lot of comments and then make a decision in haste based on that input.

“What I want to get across to you is that this is the public hearing of the Planning Board, it’s not an opportunity to take shots at the Planning Board, and it’s not an opportunity to take shots at the applicant either,” Geraghty said. “It’s simply an opportunity for the Planning Board to ask you as the public to provide them some information about this project that they may or may not know.”

Travis Mitchell, of the engineering firm Environmental Design Partnership, which is working on behalf of the Winneys, gave an approximately 20-minute presentation at the beginning of the meeting discussing different aspects of the project in an attempt to answer some of the questions people have had about it.

The purpose of the project is to build a destination RV park and campground experience on The Great Sacandaga Lake. The campground would consist of campgrounds with RV lots, “glamping” and tents, as well as restroom/shower facilities, playground, picnic pavilions, swimming pool, amphitheater, boat rental, dock system, boat slips, boat launch and beach access.

Mitchell said RV parks are allowed by the Town of Mayfield with a site plan review by the Planning Board and the board’s approval of a special permit. He said the park fits in with Mayfield’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan.

“There was a focus in there, just what we’re proposing — an RV park for tourism,” Mitchell said. “One of the top priorities in the town’s Comprehensive Plan was to look for and seek out a site for an RV park in close proximity to The Great Sacandaga Lake. If you look at the Town of Mayfield, and it’s access to The Great Sacandaga, this is one of the only sites that meets that objective. Of course, I understand, nobody wants it in their backyard, but it is, for the size of the project, very well screened, and there’s no neighbors on three of the four sides.”

Mitchell said the proposed RV park would have 277 slots for large RVs, which is “roughly one-third of what the zoning allows.”

Mitchell said the application process for the RV park started in February 2021 and, if the Town Planning Board allows the project to move forward after the SEQR process and grants it a special permit, the applicant will still need approvals from the Adirondack Park Agency, state Department of Health, state Department of Environmental Conservation, a Hudson River Black River Regulating District Beach Permit, a work permit from the state Department of Transportation and a National Grid Utility Corridor Crossing.

Several members of the public, including Don Henderson and Christine Goosens, blasted the traffic study done for the project as being inadequate. Henderson said the study was conducted during the spring in 2018 and it should be done during the heavier traffic period over the summer to get a better idea of how dangerous attracting so many RVs to the area would be.

Henderson said there are always trade offs with economic development, and he doesn’t think there will be any full-time jobs created from the RV park.

“If this isn’t going to benefit the people of Fulton County, what is it going to bring? Dangerous intersections,” he said.

Some speakers, however, favored the project including town resident Willam Defoe, who argued that the project will help expand the town’s tax base and help to generate sales tax, both of which could ultimately help lower property taxes for residents like himself.

Town resident David Bayes said he thinks an RV park with 277 slots is a lot better than creating a much larger campground for many smaller vehicles, and he likes the project for that reason.

Geraghty said the Planning Board has already received 30 letters on the proposed RV park, including letters of support from the Fulton County Center of Regional Growth and the Fulton Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. He said the board will be receiving letters from the public on the issue up to Jan. 28.

By Jason Subik

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