An application to construct an RV park on Boynton Road in Walworth, N.Y., has been wrought with controversy, the Wayne Post reported.
In October, TJJK Properties LLC. and Kevin Heald filed an application to construct Twilight Valley RV Resort, which would include 148 campsites, on an 87.1-acre site at 4500 Boynton Road in Walworth. The RV park would run along the east side of Boynton Road, north of Walworth-Marion Road and south of Smith Hill Road.
Developers completed a long form of environmental review, which was posted online and made available at the town hall. The public had a month to submit written comments.
“A lot of people did that,” said Planning Board Chairman Gene Bavis, who added that the Planning Board wasn’t required to have a public review during the SEQR process.
The developer’s engineer was invited to respond to public concerns, following which the board went step by step over each issue to determine environmental impact.
“Based on the town engineer’s, town officials’s and public concerns, we (the Planning Board) declared a negative declaration,” said Bavis, “meaning the RV park would have a small or moderate impact (on the environment). We determined that yes, there will be some impact, but minimal that can be addressed within reason.”
The town engineer has reviewed the plan and made revision suggestions, which must be dealt with before approval.
“It’s been a very controversial subject,” said Bavis. “We all want empty, quiet areas around us. But, the developers who own the land have the right to use it within the rules.”
A local law, which allows RV parks to be built on 40 acres or more in the town, was developed by the Walworth Master Plan committee and approved by the town board about a year ago.
Two years ago, before the law was passed, Bobbie Rodriguez, Boynton Road resident, formed the Neighborhood Coalition, a group of 35 people concerned with development in the area they live.
That coalition is passionately opposed to the proposed RV park, which Rodriguez said is being “plopped in among our beautiful, residential neighborhood”. At the April Planning Board meeting, they were joined by others from Smith Hill, Hall Center and Arbor roads, swelling their numbers to 80.
“We don’t feel as if our concerns were addressed,” said Rodriguez. “No one has been listening to us.”
Boynton Road concerns about air pollution due to camp fires were brushed off, she said, because of how the winds normally blow. But, that doesn’t help Smith Hill Road residents, who are east of the proposed RV site.
“The DEC allows campfires 4 feet by 4 feet by 3 feet tall,” said Rodriguez. “Multiply that by 148 campsites and we will be exposed to smoke equal to a fire the size of 2,368 square feet every weekend, every summer.”
Other objections include increased traffic and noise, since the park will operate a store, game room, pavilion and pool; a decrease in water quality due to possible spills of gasoline, diesel fuel and septic systems that will leach into the underlying dolomite; street lighting in the park and the entrance light; loss of property value; as well as the odor of sewage being dumped.
“The entrance to the park and the entrance light is directly across the road from our home,” said Rodriguez, “and the raw sewage dump 100 feet from our yard.”
The coalition believes the town is basing their decisions on the fact that tax revenue will increase if an RV park is developed on the now vacant land and don’t believe that local business would benefit from its development.
Most, she said, would rather see a subdivision constructed.
“I can remember when Boynton Road was a slice of heaven,” she said. “Now I can hardly wait to move, that it if anyone will buy a house across the street from an RV park.”
The proposed site is vacant land. If an RV park were built on the property, Karen Ambroz, town assessor, said there would be an increase in assessment, but declined to say how much.
“The anticipation of it being assessed for millions of dollars is a farce,” she said.
How the planning board will rule is still uncertain.
“I don’t know if we’ll be in a place to grant approval,” Bavis said. “We want to make sure it’s done right. A lot of time and effort has gone into it. If the developer meets all criteria that is in town codes and if they’ve address all the things to the satisfaction of the Planning Board, we’d have to give them approval. We have to have a reason to turn them down.”
The town Planning Board will meet again on the matter at 7:30 p.m. May 9 at the town hall, said Bavis.