Town of West Sparta Planning Board

February 22, 2012                             MINUTES – approved 3/28/2012


Call To Order at 7:03 pm


Roll Call: Present, Chairman Sue Erdle, Board Members Jill Kalmar, Barb Nagle

                        Excused – Board member Andy Keiffer, Alternate Eugene Teed

                        (One Board member position vacant, One Alternate Position vacant)


            There was a Quorum


            Guests – Nathan Welton (applicant), Jessica Welton, Laura Moffat, William Canfield, Laura Canfield, Lawrence Valentino, Gail Valentino, Shawn Genung, Tammy Genung, Greg Keagy (Deputy Supervisor), David Palmer


Approval of Minutes – Resolution 2012-03 to approve the January 25, 2012 minutes. Motion by J. Kalmar, seconded by B. Nagle.  Roll call vote: Erdle-aye, Nagle-aye, Kalmar-aye.  Motion PASSED


Privilege of the Floor – David Palmer expressed concern over the condition of the water in Bradner Creek. Chairman Erdle stated that this may fall under the town’s Erosion and Sediment Control law but would be something that ZEO Mark Mulliken would need to look into.


Communications – The Town Board has received Adrienne Keiffers resignation from the Planning Board.

            ZEO Mark Mullikin has approved the ‘Exempt Subdivision’ for the Mobile Home park on Dansville-Mt Morris Road in Kysorville.


Old Business – none


New Business – PUBLIC HEARING -  Special Permit Use and Site Plan Review for Hope Valley Camp and Retreat Center on Schmidt Road (applicant Nathan Welton, New Hope Ministries)


Call to order for Public Hearing at 7:07pm


Introduction by Chairman Erdle – Nathan Welton, New Hope Ministries, has applied for a Special Use permit to operate a faith based summer camp and retreat center.  This is an allowed Special Use in the AR zoning district.  Chairman Erdle read the comments from the County Planning Board (applicant and ZEO both have copies).  The County has reviewed and approved the application with the following comments; Agricultural Data statement must be included in the review, the impact of the proposed use of the property must not have a negative impact on Bradner Creek, lighting must be ‘dark sky compliant’, signs must meet the provisions in the Towns Land Development Code, and the Town of Ossian must be notified if the property is within 500’ of the town boundary.  Chairman


Town of West Sparta Planning Board

February 22, 2012                                             MINUTES



Erdle stated that this was not the case but Ossian was notified anyways (a notice of this meeting was delivered to their Town Hall).

            Chairman Erdle then discussed how the application is in compliance with local regulations;

            The Comprehensive Plan encourages the development of tourism and recreational uses as a way of preserving open space.  This proposed use would fall into that category.

            The Land Development Code, section 816 lists the requirements for this Special Use (Public & Semi Public Buildings and grounds).  The applicant has met these requirements.

            The Land Development Code section 702 lists the requirements for parking.  The applicant has met these requirements.

            The Land Development Code section 701 lists the requirements for signs.  Although the sign detail sheet provided by the applicant does not show dimensions he has stated that the sign will be of the required dimensions.

            The Special Use permit and Site Plan have been filled out correctly.

            The Short Form EAF has been completed as required by SEQRA.


            NYS Ag & Markets Law requires the review board to consider the impact of this proposed use on neighboring farm operations.  All Ag District farms in the neighborhood were notified in writing and none responded with any concerns. The proposed use will not have a negative effect on neighboring farm operations.


             The Town of West Sparta Erosion and Sediment Control law must be taken into consideration during both the construction phase of the project and during the operation of the camp to protect Bradner Creek, and neighboring properties. CEO Mark Mulliken will include this in his building and site inspections.

            The Livingston County Health Department has not yet issued the required permits.  Regardless of the results of tonights meeting (approval or disapproval of Special Use permit), no public use of the property may take place until all County Health permits are issued.

            The town CEO has not yet issued building permits.  The Special Use permit, the County Health permits, and the town Building Permits must all be in place before the camp can open for business.


Applicant Nathan Welton gave a description of his proposal.  The camp is a faith based camp that will target local children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend an overnight camp.  Camp sessions will be for a week at a time.  Supervised outdoor activities will be offered as well as educational and religious activities including arts and crafts and Bible study. He has run this camp for the past two years on rented property in Wyoming County but wanted to have it on property he owned.  This location was brought to his attention by the previous owner who ran a retreat center (Circle Inc) on the property. 

Town of West Sparta Planning Board

February 22, 2012                                             MINUTES



The floor was then opened up for questions and comments by the public


Shawn Genung – he and his wife Tammy live just south of the proposed use.  He asked why there was no contact with him about the proposed use.  He is concerned about noise and light from the camp having a negative impact on his property and his family’s enjoyment of the area.  He is worried about the number of campers and the amount of supervision they may have. He can now see both existing building on the property and does not want to see any more. He does not want the new buildings to be close to his property.  He is also concerned that the proposed shooting range (BBs and 22s) is too close to his residence.  He stated that the new property survey is not accurate and would like that resolved.


Gail Valentino – she and her husband Larry own the farm and agricultural land north of the proposed camp. She is concerned about increased traffic past their farm (they own both sides of the road and people, equipment and animals all cross the road).  She is concerned about the number of campers and supervision.  She asked if the children are ‘problem children’ that may not behave properly and be a threat to the neighborhood.


Laura Moffat – asked how the children are chosen to attend this camp.  She stated that although she does not live in the neighborhood she is concerned about the impact this use may have on the neighborhood and the town as a whole.


Larry Valentino – asked about the buildings, water, and septic. He stated that the existing buildings and septic may not be to Code.  He is also concerned about the proposed location of the shooting range, and offered to assist Mr. Welton with finding a suitable location.


Bill Canfield – his farm is on Coffee Hill road right behind the proposed camp and separated from it by Bradner Creek.  He is concerned about children playing in the creek and getting hurt (there is a falls, swimming hole, and steep banks at that location).  He owns part of this section and has a problem with trespassers.  The previous owner of the proposed camp property allowed people access to the falls and someone was badly injured there last year. 


Laura Canfield – (daughter of Bill Canfield) stated that the previous use of Mr. Weltons property was a camp and retreat center but was mostly adults and was used on weekends only.  She said the noise was noticeable but acceptable.  She feels this may not be the case with younger children who are there for a full week and with camp in session all summer.


David Palmer – lives on Coffee Hill Road.  He said there are many children who could benefit from a camp experience like the one Mr. Welton is offering.  He is in favor of the project if some of the concerns brought up tonight can be resolved.  

Town of West Sparta Planning Board

February 22, 2012                                             MINUTES


Nathan Welton provided the following answers to the concerns expressed;  Camp will not be all summer but only for four (4) weeks at most, and probably only for two weeks in August this year.  Weekend retreats will be for adults and older teens. He has done this type of camp for the past two years so has experience in what needs to be done.  The children who attend the camp are from low income families, single parent households or foster children but are not dangerous or out of control.  Campers who do not follow the rules are sent home, and there is supervision at all times. He had no problems with the neighbors when he was in operation in Wyoming County.  He gave an example of a daily schedule which included meals, supervised activities, Bible study, an evening camp fire, and lights out at 9:30pm.  He expects to be able to accommodate 60 campers at each week long session. Weekend retreats will be ‘on demand’ by adult groups. They will be notified of rules and regulations so as not to disturb neighbors. For the childrens camp sessions the campers would arrive on Sunday afternoon between 2 and 4 pm so traffic might be heavy at that time.  His staffing is arranged so that there will be one adult for every 4 campers, more than NYS requires. He will be working with town CEO Mark Mulliken to make sure all buildings meet NYS code, lighting will be under the eaves of the buildings so will not affect the neighbors. He has applied for his permits from the Livingston County Health Department. He will work with Larry Valentino to locate the shooting range in an appropriate location.  He is willing to plant additional trees as needed to screen the view of the buildings from the Genung property.


Chairman Erdle summarized the discussion so far; most issues seem to have been addressed and Mr. Welton wants to cooperate with the neighbors. The only outstanding concerns are noise, trespassing, and traffic.


Gail Valentino suggested that having fewer campers for the first year might cut down on noise and traffic concerns and give everyone a chance to see how things work.  Mr. Welton agreed to reduce the number of campers for this year, and keep the retreat groups to under 20 individuals per weekend.  Next year the concerns will be brought up again to see if any changes need to be made.


The general consensus of the people at the meeting was that this would be satisfactory.


Public hearing closed at 8:20 pm.


Resolution 2012 – 04 – To approve the application for a Special Use Permit and Site Plan for New Hope Valley Camp and Retreat Center at9470 Schmidt Road with the following conditions:

            Must meet all Livingston County Health Department regulations

            Limit the number of campers to either 40 a week for two one week sessions, or 30

                a week for four one week sessions, and only 20 retreat participants per weekend

            Plant trees to block the view of buildings from Genungs property

            Relocate shooting range to rear of property

            No one to be in the creek

Town of West Sparta Planning Board

February 22, 2012                                             MINUTES



Lighting must be dark sky compliant

            Resurvey to accurately locate property boundaries

            Permit good for one year after date of issue by Town CEO/ZEO


Motion to approve with conditions  by Chairman Erdle, seconded by Barb Nagle.  Roll call vote; Erdle-aye, Nagle – aye, Kalmar-aye.  Motion PASSED.


With no other business the meeting was adjourned at 8:21 pm


Next meeting – March 28, 2012 at 7 pm.




               Respectfully submitted


               Susan Erdle