Home Substantial portion Two proposed RV parks near Great Sacandaga Lake have neighbors worried

Two proposed RV parks near Great Sacandaga Lake have neighbors worried

A public hearing was held on January 19 at the Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department to express views on the proposed Woods Hollow RV park. Here, residents hand in their letters of opposition to members of the city council. Photo by Marc Schultz

By Gwendolyn Craig

The shores of Great Sacandaga Lake, the man-made body of water in Fulton and Saratoga counties, could become an RV destination as two campground proposals make their way through the Adirondack Park review Agency. Neighbors living next to these currently undisturbed tracts of land are wary of the projects, and some have hired lawyers and filed a legal complaint.

The two proposals include a 300 unit RV park in the town of Mayfield and a 26 unit RV park in the town of Broadalbin. They are about seven miles apart at the southern end of the lake. Mayfield’s proposal is currently an incomplete application to the APA. Part of the project is outside the Blue Line. The APA deemed the Broadalbin proposal, which is entirely within the park, complete. It is in public consultation until March 10.

Attorneys Claudia Braymer and Ben Botelho are representing Mayfield and Broadalbin residents as the cities, APA and other state agencies review RV park applications. In letters to the APA about both projects, the Braymer company said its customers were concerned about increased noise, traffic, wildlife and water quality impacts.

Broadalbin’s proposal

Mike and Lorraine Bogdan of Peacock Properties applied to the APA in July 2020 for a 75-unit seasonal RV park on the south side of Union Mills Road in Broadalbin.

In August 2020, 19 neighbors wrote a joint letter to the APA that they were “totally opposed to the proposed project. A major project like this will forever change the rural, non-commercial characteristics of our neighborhood that we appreciate and want to maintain. Several others submitted their own comments against the proposal. A request for APA records did not result in any letters of comment from residents supporting the project.

APA records show several notices of incomplete applications over the years. The Bogdans reduced their request to 25 RV lots and one rental cabin. They also canceled plans for an amphitheater and restrooms, while keeping a proposed 10,000 square foot barn to host weddings, family reunions and other events.

Residents continued to write the APA with concern.

Over the summer, Myron Kuchark, Evelyn Kuchark, Kimberly Cummings, Shauna Traskos and Tracie Kuchark filed a lawsuit against Peacock Properties in Fulton County State Supreme Court. The complaint alleges that the Peacock Properties pond flooded neighboring Kuchark property, causing “a substantial portion of the plaintiffs’ land” to “become a swamp and a large number of trees have died and the ground is otherwise destroyed”.

The plaintiffs want the Bogdans to install a system of ditches and drainage and pay for the damages.

In a December letter to the APA, the Bogdans wrote that Mike Bogdan “went like a good neighbor and tried to fix the problem”, and they planned to fix the overflow.

Myron Kuchark, 79, said he took legal action to resolve the flooding issue before the RV park project went ahead. He hoped to reach an agreement with the Bogdans soon.

Kuchark’s grandfather bought the land around 1920, and it has been in the family ever since. He said he was concerned that the VR proposal would fit the character and use of the land. He is skeptical of the APA board and its concern for the environment, he said, after approving a subdivision around Woodward Lake in Fulton County, just west of the Great Sacandaga lake and north of RV park proposals.

Kuchark said he didn’t want to judge the board prematurely on Peacock Properties’ proposal.

“They should welcome all contributions,” he said. “We just hope they make a fair decision.”

In a letter to the APA, law firm Braymer argued that the event barn should be a separate and distinct use of the RV park. He also believes that the event barn is an incompatible use for the APA’s rural land use classification. The company also said that until Kuchark’s litigation is resolved, “the APA should refrain from any review or approval of the project.”

The Adirondack Explorer contacted Mike Bogdan by phone, but he referred questions to his wife. Lorraine Bogdan did not respond to calls for comment.

The Bogdans have written several letters to APA staff responding to their neighbors’ comments and pointing out that their proposal is one-third the number of RV spaces compared to their original plan.

“We plan to use our pristine lands, natural habitat and beauty as a benefit and treat to share with our future guests,” the Bogdans wrote to APA. “We have over 88 beautiful acres and only develop less than 5 acres.”

The Broadalbin town planning council is awaiting the APA’s decision before issuing its approvals.

Mayfield Project

The Winney family submitted their application for a 300-lot RV park about seven miles west of the Bogdans on Woods Hollow Road. The Town of Mayfield Planning Board held a public hearing open in January and continues to accept input before making a decision on whether to accept a site plan.

Lane Winney
Lane Winney listens to comments on his proposal during a January 19 public hearing at the Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department. Photo by Marc Schultz

Owners Lane and Jamie Winney and their daughter, Kalei Winney, received a $200,000 prize in December as part of Round 11 of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The reimbursement grant is through Market New York and can be applied to construction, supplies, and engineering expenses.

The Winneys are offering an RV park and campground on Woods Hollow Road that will include a boat launch on Great Sacandaga Lake. In their APA application, they identify Mayfield’s Comprehensive Town Plan from 2013 which indicated that the area lacked “adequate tourist accommodations”. The Winneys’ application “suggests that the proposed Woods Hollow RV park is exactly what the 2013 Global Plan envisions for a new RV park in the city.”

The Winneys did not respond to Explorer’s multiple requests for comment.

Their proposal was strongly rejected by the locals. Several dozen people attended a public hearing in January that had been delayed for months due to meeting notice errors.

The explorer filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the city for the written testimonials and public comments submitted. About two dozen comments were against the project as presented. About half a dozen were in favor of the project.

Kalei Winney wrote a letter to the board after the January 19 hearing. His family owns and operates an existing RV park in Northville called Dun ‘Loggin’ Campground. For the past five years, Kalei Winney has managed the campground store, but hopes to one day manage the Woods Hollow site, she said. Many families who camp at Dun’ Loggin’ are long-time guests who use the campground as a second home. Some of the commentators against the RV park have made assumptions “based on rather absurd stereotypes they have of people camping”, she said.

Two neighbors of Dun ‘Loggin’ Campground have written in favor of Woods Hollow RV Park. One, Joseph Moran, said he lived directly across from Northville Campground and the property was “clean and neat” and quiet at night.

The Winneys also have the support of the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, records show.

Travis Mitchell
A public hearing was held on January 19 at the Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department to express views on the proposed Woods Hollow RV park. Travis Mitchell, PE, of Environmental Design Partnership, reviews plans for the RV park. Photo by Marc Schultz

In its $200,000 prize announcement, the Regional Economic Development Council said the campground “will increase tourism in the Mohawk Valley. This project will provide a safe and affordable getaway for families who want to reconnect with the outdoors while creating last memories.

A local resident, Matt Kieley, was not only against the project proposal, but also alarmed at the way the planning board conducted the January 19 hearing.

Kieley wrote to the Winney family and their engineer gave a 25 minute presentation while the residents were given 3 minutes to speak “and nearly every resident who had prepared remarks was cut short”. Officials leading the meeting treated residents as if they were an “angry mob,” Kieley said.

Kieley also called the city’s overall plan “outdated” and suggested the planning board bring in a third party “to fully understand the risks this project entails.”

“I believe this project is very short-sighted and will have a profound and negative impact on our community and the lake for many years to come,” Kieley added.

Carol Ellis, who lives on Woods Hollow Road, wrote concerned about traffic and public safety.

“I truly believe that the obstructions this park will generate will actually change the outcome from a crisis to a devastation simply because the aid lane was deliberately voted to be compromised,” Ellis wrote. “It’s in your hands and you have the responsibility to do your homework.”

The Great Sacandaga Lake Association also wrote to the planning board that the majority of its members did not support the project and wanted more information on potential water quality impacts.

In a notice posted on the city’s website, Fulton County Senior Planner Aaron Enfield said he would continue to accept comments mailed to [email protected] or at the Fulton County Planning Department, c/o Town of Mayfield Planning Board, 1 East Montgomery St., Johnstown, NY 12095.

The Mayfield Planning Board did not meet in February, but is due to hold its next monthly meeting on March 16.

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