BESIDE Letter of Application #2 Planning Board 20211122
Updated: Feb 5
November 22, 2021
Terresa M. Bakner
One Commerce Plaza Partner
Albany, New York 12260 518.487.7615 phone
Chairman James Crowley and Planning Board Members
Town of Bethel Town Planning Board
3454 Route 55
PO Box 300
White Lake, New York 12786
Re: Application for Town of Bethel Planning Board approval of a Conventional Subdivision and Non-transient Campground on 800.75 acres known as Hemp Meadow Estates by Beside Cabins
Dear Chairman and Planning Board Members:
This Firm represents Beside Cabins, a Canadian Company, that applied in April of this year to the Town Planning Board for subdivision approval and for a special use permit for a non-transient campground proposed to be located on a portion of the approximately 800.75 acres known as Hemp Meadow Estates (tax map parcel numbers 55.C-1-3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19 & 20 and two adjacent parcels 43.-32-3 and 4).
Beside Cabin’s original application was for a conservation subdivision comprising 64 single-family residential lots and the non-transient campground on approximately 25 acres. The yield subdivision lot layout, entitled “Yield Plan”, prepared by MHE and dated April 19, 2021, showed that at least 66 lots of over five acres in size with roadways could be created on this 800.75 acres. The lots and roadways were proposed to be built with no to minimal impacts to wetlands, streams, steep slopes and rock outcroppings. The yield subdivision lot shows two accessways into the property, one from Pine Grove Road (full access) and the other from Hartwood Drive (emergency vehicle access only).
At the Planning Board meeting in May of 2021 the Planning Board declared its intent to be SEQRA lead agency for this type 1 action and subsequently thereafter Ms. Gettel on behalf of the Planning Board circulated a lead agency coordination notice. More than 30 days have passed since the coordination took place and no other involved agency indicated any objection to the Town of Bethel Planning Board being lead agency. The Applicant respectfully requests that the Town Planning Board declare that it is lead agency at its December Planning Board meeting. 4831-4706-8646, v. 1
In the intervening months the Applicant submitted further information in support of the application including a traffic evaluation and a study by its ecologist of the flora and fauna, including the absence or presence of any threatened or endangered species on or near the property. Throughout the summer and fall of 2021 the Applicant worked with MHE to finalize the preliminary subdivision plat and to ensure that the appropriate soils tests were undertaken. Attached for your review is the report by MHE on the soils tests and the proposed on-site septic systems (see exhibit A). The traffic evaluation was expanded based on comments from the Town’s consultant, Glenn Smith, and from NYSDOT. The expanded traffic evaluation is included with this letter as exhibit B.
As part of the development of the preliminary subdivision plat the Applicant determined to reduce the number of residential lots from 64 to 57 and to increase them in size so that none of the lots are less than 5 acres. Please see subdivision plans prepared by MHE and included as exhibit C. This is consistent with the underlying FC zoning and the nearby Chapin Estates subdivisions. Also consistent with the surrounding developments, the roadways are proposed to be gravel roadways 20 feet in width with shoulders of 2 feet on either side. The proposed methods of stormwater treatment will be designed to meet NYS Stormwater regulations. MHE is working on the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for the revised project.
The lot containing the non-transient campground will similar roadways and provide 45 structures for rental as campsites, known as pods, which will be occupied by small 250 square feet architectural and insulated units comprising sleeping and cooking facilities, and a wood stove. The pods will accommodate two adults. The campground will be open year-round and will be served with sanitary blocks interspersed among the campsites which provide potable water, showers, and toilets. The campground will be regulated by the NYSDOH and has been designed to meet all NYSDOH requirements. The campground will share the internal roadways and the access to Pine Grove Road. Additionally, the plans have been expanded to show parking and the common facilities, such as the sanitary blocks, that will provide toilets and showers for those staying in the pods. The soils have been tested to show that septic systems can be installed for each of the blocks.
As before all roadways and any limited infrastructure built for the campground will be privately owned and operated. Beside Cabins, as the project sponsor, will own and manage the campground. A homeowners’ association (HOA) for the single-family lots will be created to hold and manage the open space, the roadways and any other common infrastructure. A declaration of covenants and restrictions will be developed to preserve the open space. Those residing in the houses on the single-family residential lots and those visiting the campground will be able to hike, fish, interact with wildlife and experience nature throughout the property.
Beside Cabin’s goal remains to seamlessly integrate these two uses while preserving a substantial amount of valuable open space including Hemp Meadow Brook and all of the wetlands associated with the Brook. The amount of open space to be preserved remains the same: the open space that is not on the residential lots will be preserved through deed restrictions held by Besides Cabins as the owner of the campground. The open space on the individual 5+ acres lots will also be preserved using deed restrictions. 4831-4706-8646, v. 1 .
Because the roadways built on the property will be privately owned, Beside Cabins will be asking the Planning Board to allow the roads to be finished with gravel rather than blacktop. The goal is to make the roadways as pervious as possible and to maintain the “natural” appearance of the property while still allowing safe and adequate access for emergency vehicles. Beside Cabins and MHE will consult with the Town Building Inspector, local volunteer fire company and ambulance company to make sure that the roads are sufficient for their needs. Attention is also being paid to whether it might be possible to create a pond or other source of water accessible to fire trucks on the property.
As part of this supplement to the application package, MHE has revised the full EAF Part 1 to show any changes to the subdivision and campground (see exhibit D). As before, the project can be constructed with only very small impacts to one ACOE regulated wetlands which is crossed at its smallest point by the road providing access to Pine Grove Road. This impact cannot be avoided, however, the Applicant is evaluating whether it can be crossed with a bottomless arched culvert to strictly minimize any impacts to the federal wetlands. If this is not possible the Applicant will apply for a Nationwide Permit from the ACOE and for a water quality certification from the NYSDEC. The Applicant will also obtain coverage under the NYSDEC General SPDES Stormwater permit for stormwater discharges associated with construction.
Beside Cabins looks forward to appearing before the Town Planning Board at its December meeting and to continuing to work with the planning board and its consulting engineer Glenn Smith on the review of this project and welcomes any comments on the revised plans and submitted documents.
Very truly yours,
/s/ Terresa M. Bakner
Terresa M. Bakner
Cc: Jackie Ricciani (with hard copy)