MAYFIELD — The Mayfield Planning Board Wednesday night closed the public hearing for the proposed $4 million 277-slot RV park, roughly five months after the board first opened up the public hearing for the controversial project in January.
The town Planning Board is the lead agency for the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) process and is tasked with determining whether or not the project will have an adverse environmental impact on the town, which is known as a “Positive Declaration,” which would bring a halt to the project’s forward progress through any of the multiple regulatory approvals it must obtain before being built, forcing the applicants to provide a satisfactory plan to mitigate the adverse impact.
The last part of the public hearing was similar to the first part, with about a dozen speakers arguing the RV park will create too much traffic in the location off Woods Hollow Road where project applicants Lane and Kalei Winney want to build it.
That’s despite a slew of changes made to the proposed project after the January portion of the public hearing.
The engineer for the project Travis Mitchell, of the engineering firm Environmental Design Partnership, gave a short presentation Wednesday night explaining to the packed crowd all of the changes that have been made to the proposal to address the public’s concerns, including changing the primary and secondary entrances to the park to being located on Route 30. He said at the suggestion of the Broadalbin-Kennyetto Fire Company the previous primary entrance on Woods Hollow Road will be converted to an emergency-services-only entrance.
“That will be keyed-gated-entry-only emergency services [only], so fire department, ambulance. They will be the only ones with access through that gate, no deliveries, no maintenance, only emergency services,” Mitchell said.
Some of the other changes included the elimination of a planned amphitheater, a continuation of the fencing for the park so it goes along the property line of the neighboring properties to the north.
“The applicant would really prefer to use a wire fence and do a good job with vegetative screening, but if the Planning Board really wants a stockade fence, or if those two neighbors really want a stockade fence we’ll do it, but we’d rather have the screening,” Mitchell said.
About a dozen people spoke during the public hearing, most of them critical of the project, although several thanked the Winneys for the changes they had agreed to make.
Mayfield resident Paul Baum questioned how the Mayfield Planning Board or the public can trust that the changes made to the project proposal in response to the public will stay changed once the park is built.
“Now that the emergency entrance has been recommended by the Kennyetto fire department, what’s to keep it from becoming a main entrance?” Baum asked. “I know they said it would be key-guarded and gated, but what’s the definition of a gate? Will it be like one you would see in a parking garage or six or eight-foot high fence that’s truly a gate that swings open?”
Christine Goossens, who lives at 276 Woods Hollow Road, questioned the accuracy of the traffic study done for the project. She questioned whether the emergency entrance could become a source of increased traffic on her road.
“Exactly how are the Winneys going to police that?” she asked.
During and after the hearing Lane Winney addressed some of the criticisms. He said the emergency entrance can’t be used by anyone without the keys and they won’t be given to the park customers. He said the changes to the project were expensive, but he made them because he wants to build a beautiful and successful RV park that the residents of the town will ultimately benefit from because of increased tourism.
“Just wait and see,” Lane Winney said.
Fulton County Planner Sean Geraghty, who works as consultant advising the board, said the Mayfield Planning Board will likely make its decision on whether to issue a positive or negative declaration for the SEQR process next month. He said if there is a positive declaration it will likely be another four months or so before the planning board will be presented with the applicant’s response.