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Minutes of a Town Board Meeting held Wednesday, May 16, 2018

State of New York
County of Fulton
Town of Caroga

Minutes of a Caroga Town Board work session held Wednesday May 16, 2018 at the municipal building located at 1840 State Highway #10 at 7:00 pm with the following persons in attendance by roll call:

Supervisor James K Selmser - Here
Council Member John Glenn – Here
Council Member Jeremy Manning - Here
Council Member James Long – Here
Council Member Kent Kirch - Here

There were 17 members of the public in attendance.

Supervisor Selmser called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm. The flag salute followed.

The main purpose of the meeting tonight is to review a presentation on a possible bike path and multi- use trail system. Council Member Manning updated those present. Last year the board began to consider the possibility of constructing a multi-use trail system with a focus on mountain biking on some town owned property the town acquired in 1962. It is behind the present firehouse. There are other areas they can tie into as well. The town was awarded a smart growth grant last year for this phase of the project. This is the planning design and assessment phase. Steven Ovitt of Wilderness Property Management Inc. (WPM) was hired for this phase of the project. He has built several other trail systems.

Mr. Ovitt stated that he spent 25 years as a state forest ranger. He started his own business after he left the state. He has been doing this for six years. He is working on 4 mountain bike parks he is continuing to build out on. Two are on private land, two are on town property. He includes a hiking piece with it.

A map was projected for all to see and a large printed map was pinned to the wall. Limited report handouts were available.

The presentation is called the Wheelerville Mountain Bike Park Conceptual Plan.

Bike Park Location

The location of the town park land is conducive to community and tourist use. Being located on a major highway and directly adjacent to the community and other recreational venues improves the potential economic benefit from mountain bike park development. Having destinations such as Irving Pond and a mountain summit at the far side of the property from the parking area gives users an additional experience beyond the normal riding recreation. Adjacent public lands offer potential growth opportunities and the creation of community and destination connections. He noted dead end trails do not drive a recreation based economy. The town park land is well located to maximize the opportunity for community recreation and to increase the recreation-based economy. The development of a purpose built single track mountain bike trail system would add a previously non-existent form of recreation to the Town of Caroga.

The physical site offers a southern aspect for relatively dry site conditions, side slope for the preferred bench type of trail construction, moderate slopes, and assorted rock conditions from boulders to ledge rock and limited spring seeps without wetlands. The property boundary locations, site gradients, and the location of critical site features allow development of trails on the majority of the property and access to key destinations. A large portion of the 115 acre park would be acceptable for trail development.

This document can be used as a reference for any future trail development.

Soil Type

The soil type for the majority of the site is a glacial till made up of gravel, cobbles, boulders and pockets of loam. The site is well drained due to soil type and slope. The prevalence of large rock and ledge is classic Adirondack geology that make trail experiences unique to this area. Exposed ridges of ledge would funnel trail development into set corridors on portions of the property. It has been decades since the site was logged and the released understory is pole size and larger. Log roads are discernible, and stumps are visibly deteriorated. Wetland type vegetation was absent from the site.


Public lands make up a large portion of the property adjacent to the town park land. The adjacent public lands are located in a manner that would allow trail expansion if the community was interested in pursuing that in the future.

Trail System Development- Mountain Bike Specific Single Track Trail

The parking area on Rt. 10/29A would make an adequate trailhead for the riding area with the addition of an informational kiosk. Trail development would start from this location, run approximately parallel to the southern boundary and extend east to Irving Pond and the high point on the property.

Mountain Bike Trail Design

The trail tread width should be one foot wide on the difficult trails and 2-3 feet wide on the easier trails. The cleared width of the trail should be 4-6 feet. Each individual trail should have a rated difficulty level for rider discretion. Trails should range in difficulty from Easy (green circle-beginner) to Very Difficult (double black diamond-expert) with the majority and emphasis on more difficult (blue square intermediate) and difficult (single black diamond-advanced) trail ratings*.

Picture 5

WPM Trails at Gurney Lane Bike Park

Rolling Contour Trail Design

Trail design should utilize a continuous series of grade reversals to allow appropriate drainage for a sustainable trail with minimal maintenance.


The parking area on Rt. 10/29A would need to be signed along the highway. The parking lot would also need to be graded. A kiosk would need to be constructed near the trail entrance to provide readily visible visitor information and a map of trail system.

Picture 2

Trailhead Kiosk, Tr. System Map & Bike Repair Station

Water & Restrooms

Signage at the trailhead should include directions to public restrooms and water at either the Town Offices or the Golf Course. This would be adequate as these locations are only a short bike ride or drive from the trailhead. Mountain biking is a growing sport.

Design & Layout Costs

Cost for Design & Layout preparatory for construction generally run $750-$1,000 per km.

Construction Costs**

The cost for a joint Professional Consultant/Town or Professional Consultant/volunteer collaborative effort on public lands generally run from $2.75 to $3.50 per foot, depending on the trail standards established.

The cost for a full professional hand or machine build trail on private land generally runs from $3.50 to $5 per foot for natural surface single track trail. The price varies depending on the trail standards established for the trail.

Public Works projects on public lands and/or public grant funded projects require prevailing wages which inflate the prices dramatically. The cost for a full professional hand or machine build trail on public lands is $5.50 to $7.00 per foot for natural surface single track trail. The price varies depending on the trail standards established for the trail.

Trailhead development with kiosk, mapping, surface grading and trailhead sign would cost approximately $6,000-$7,000.

Risk Management

The majority of risk management is completed in trail system design and layout. This is a major reason for procuring professional assistance in the design and layout phase of a trails project. This point is reinforced by the recommendation in the APA Single Track Bike Trail Development. Risk management is also applied to a trail system through the use of commonly understood signage. Marking trails with IMBA trail ratings and hazard warnings gives users the opportunity to make good and safe judgments that can reduce the inherent risks of the sport.

In NYS the recreationist bears the burden of risk for the associated sport on free publicly accessible lands. Providing appropriate signage, trail design and construction to industry norms and a reasonable level of maintenance is generally a successful defense in injury/liability disputes.

WPM has developed four mountain bike parks in the Adirondack region of New York State of which two are town park projects. In each case the town’s current insurance coverage allowed the development of bike trails. This reflects the common acceptance, that mountain biking is within the norms for public park recreation.

Trail Connectivity Outline

Opportunities for Connections

The abundance of public lands in the area surrounding the Irving Pond park land allow for a reasonable opportunity to expand the trail system if the community decides to do so. The state forest preserve lands to the north would connect the trail system to potential environmental destinations and not create a desired community connection. The public and private lands to the south would allow the trail system to connect to a more populated portion of the community in the vicinity of Caroga Lake. A parallel to mountain bike recreation can be drawn with the advent and growth of snowmobiling. A project like this could really grow with good neighbors. If this project could get on private lands you can move forward faster.

Pictures were shown of trail design and how certain features control the speed of the trail.

A second map in the packet was reviewed.


Lynne Delesky asked if the project required APA permits. He has put in for single track trails for three other sites in the park and they have all come back as non- jurisdictional.

Tony Sturchio lives directly across the street from the proposed trailhead. He wondered if it would have any impact on their quality of life. There would be cars pulling in. The turnover is about 2 hours. His son rides and is excited about the project.

Joyce Barrett asked if there are hikers and bikers on the path at a choke point how to they share. The sight distance makes it easy to control the bike and slow down. Signage also helps. He believes single track trails are good for our society because we have to get along. You have to make eye contact with somebody and someone has to give way.

Council Member Glenn asked what the general cost was for the whole thing. The cost varies if you work with town employees, or if you have to pay the federal prevailing wage ($49 per hr.) which just about doubles the cost. They work with communities and provide employees. He estimated $60,000.00 as designed. Supervisor Selmser stated to just put in the minimum trail to start it would be about $30-40,000. He stated that less than 4-5% of the funding is by the town. Small towns deserve to have these trails as much as larger municipalities.

Supervisor Selmser asked if we should submit a grant to CFA this year. Mr. Ovitt suggested looking at all the different sources of grant funding. There is funding through NYS Parks in the Adirondacks.

John Allen asked if grants didn’t cover the total costs where would the additional money come from. Will it cost the taxpayers to do this? Mr. Ovitt stated it can be done through matching – in kind services, donors/organizations they do hybrid building. As a business they work with recreationists. They like to work with communities – you can keep track of the hours worked and those goes toward the match of the grant. It depends on the route the community chooses. Town employees would not be utilized. Volunteers would be used – bike riders, trail users. A grant can be written to cover the cost of town employees if they wanted. If you get something out of it you put something into it and you value it more. The community based trail systems gets more into the community – more of a recreation economy. When you work with the state you have to go through that process.

Lynne Delesky asked when federal prevailing wage comes into play. Mr. Ovitt stated when it is public land and public funding. These are Dept. of Labor laws. He compared it to putting this roof out to bid – then you would have to deal with it.

With a mix of volunteers and his laborers work is done and he comes in and does the finish. That is the optimum he guarantee a good follow through which reflects on them. The percentage of volunteers is 25%.

A member of the Johnstown Bike Club has lived all over the country and this is the only place he has lived that doesn’t have some type of a mountain bike trail system. He routinely drives to ride his bike and other people will do that. Many trails are in population based areas, Boston, Bolder. We can have that too. He noted there are high school mountain biking chapters in 10 – 12 states. If you start kids at a young age cycling can become a lifetime sport.

Mr. Ovitt stated the Rutland VT trail systems was Town, Village or City based and has grown so much they procured federal funds to get a bike trail through the center of town.

John Allen asked if this would have an effect on hunting in October. What happens that biking winds down after Columbus Day. A lot of bike riders are skiers and hunters. Some bike trail systems are closed down – that is something the community decides on.

Council member Glenn asked about liability. In any recreation someone is going to get hurt. Mr. Ovitt stated in NYS if you have trails that are designed with in the norms (which they will be) and you didn’t knowingly crate anything in that trail systems those riders are responsible for themselves. Rating signs are posted. That is an opportunity for them to make a reasonable judgment of their skill levels. The risk lies with the recreationist. Attorney Smrtic noted the law stated you are not liable except in cases of gross negligence. For recreational purposes NYS recognizes the importance of recreation. They want people to use the land for snowmobiling, hiking, and hunting. The private or municipal land owner is not liable except for gross negligence. He personally has trails around his house that he built. “As a general rule mountain bikers,” Attorney Smrtic stated “were not litigious.”


Each trail should be marked with trail difficulty rating signs at their beginning and end along with trail name signs. The trail itself should have similar color and shape trail markers intermittently along its length. A map showing trail locations and ratings should be located at the trailhead kiosk and at key intersections in the trail system. This same map can generally be used as a marketing tool for the town. It was noted that there are no releases and in most towns there isn’t an additional insurance cost as they have town parks.

Supervisor Selmser noted the close proximity to snowmobile trails. Mr. Ovitt noted there could be cross over use from one season to the next. He gave an example of the golf course and a bridge already available for use. He thought you should make the most of those advantages with the proper design.

Attorney Smrtic stated that DEC is allowing his group to ride the snowmobile trails on state land. They volunteer and can maintain them if they are on state land.

Council Member Manning stated there are a bunch of guys here tonight from the Adirondack Peddle Club. They have been doing a lot of trail work in the Pecks Hill State Forrest. (It is outside the Adirondack Park) It is a bit different. Attorney Smrtic stated if the trails are designated wilderness you can use the trails with bicycles.

It was noted that the APA just put out bike trail guidelines addressing public lands. DEC has stated that trails should be around more developed areas and in a certain way.

Council Member Glenn asked if we should be working with the state on this. Council Member Manning stated we are in the park but this is town land and we have the complete ability to build what we want. The state will not allow us to bring in equipment on state land or wilderness.

Steve Ovitt is doing a recreation plan for the Town of Johnsburg for public lands. He is producing a guidance document so when they do deal with the state they have looked at things that are good for the community good for their recreation based economy. The community had a public input session into the plan to provide leadership to the state when they do a management plan. DEC is making a marked effort to improve their recreation plan over the past few years.

Council member Glenn noted Senator Tedisco has gone on record to say he want to pour tons of money into recreation.

The 12 page presentation is available at townofcaroga.com

Other business this evening

RESOLUTION #2018-062 to approve an application from Canada Lake Conservation Association to hold a fireworks display was offered by Council Member Long at a work session held on May 16, 2018 at town hall.

WHEREAS, Majestic Fireworks Inc. of 29 College St. Clinton NY 13323 submitted an application and proof of Certificate of Liability Insurance for fireworks to be held in the town of Caroga in accordance to NFPA 1123/1126 – Penal Law 405 & 270 now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Caroga Town Board does hereby move to permit and approve the fireworks display on July 7th 2018.

Council Member Glenn seconded the motion.

Adopted by a vote of 5 ayes, Selmser, Glenn, Manning, Long, Kirch

RESOLUTION #2018-063 to request information was offered by Council Member Long at a work session held on May 16, 2018 at town hall.

WHEREAS, the Town board desires to obtain information from National Grid about the streetlights, the worth, the location, age and all the details about them, and

WHEREAS, the board may decide if they may at some point perhaps want to replace them with LED streetlights, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that a letter be sent to National Grid with the following language: The Town of Caroga has determined to proceed under the NYS Streetlight saving and replacement act codified under section 70A of the public service law to acquire all of the streetlights within the town from National Grid. The town intends to convert all streetlights within the town to LED technology in order to reduce energy consumption and to achieve related efficiencies accordingly we request that national grid provide an inventory of systems in the Town of Caroga the acquisition price of that inventory and any other applicable costs that the Town of Caroga may incur during the conversions as far as the result of the acquisition.

The motion was seconded by Council Member Kirch

Comments: Supervisor Selmser stated this goes to more or less comply with state mandates that are asking communities is to go through this process to save energy long term. The state wants to convert 500,000 streetlights in the state by 2020. Most of the counties are working toward this mandate.

Council Member Long note he and the supervisor have attended conferences where they have looked at the finances and the payback period is (with financing) just 2 – 3 years. He would expect to pay no more per month for the first 2 – 3 years after that there would be no service fee to National Grid because we own it. There is a longer life span of LED lights – projected to be 20 years or more. This would dramatically lower energy consumption. “Our ongoing costs after two or three years would be dramatically lower.” There would be no increase in cost during the conversion time.

Council Member Glenn reiterated that this is a fact finding …

Council Member Long stated we are not obligating the town in any way. Only National Grid can tell us what they want to buy them out.

Supervisor Selmser stated they are required by state law to generate this information and have it available when requested by 90 days.

Adopted by a vote of 5 ayes, Selmser, Glenn, Manning, Long, Kirch

Council Member Manning wanted to follow up with the biking and the next step. He wanted to ask Mr. Ovitt to write a proposal for what it would be to do the entire project. Council Member Long asked if there was a cost to have this proposal written. It was noted that the grant money has been expended as of tonight. What Council Member Manning is looking for is a document to build what was described this evening in its entirety. He has put together a summery at the end of the document. Supervisor Selmser wanted to submit it in July for a round in a CFA Grant. Mr. Ovitt stated he could get the town what they need so they can do that.

RESOLUTION #2018-064 to request a proposal from Wilderness Property Management Inc. for the construction of the previously described Wheelerville Trail System was offered by Council Member Manning at the Wednesday May 16 work session held at town hall.

WHEREAS, the Caroga Town Board held a work session on Wednesday May 16, 2018 to listen to a presentation on a possible bike path and multi- use trail system in the town of Caroga, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Town board does hereby move to request a proposal from Wilderness Property Management Inc. for the construction of the previously described Wheelerville Trail System.

Council Member Long seconded the motion.

Council Member Kirch wanted to ensure that the proposal will show the step by step phases or steps to implement and what those steps would be in a noncommittal fashion. Mr. Ovitt stated it would be the last page of the document – the summary.

Adopted by a vote of 5 ayes, Selmser, Glenn, Manning, Long, Kirch

Council Member Manning wanted to clean up/amend a resolution he made at the last meeting about the golf course benefit. He stated we regret making it. There has been pushback on it.

RESOLUTION #2018-065 to amend Resolution #2018-054 was offered by Council Member Manning at the Wednesday May 16 work session held at town hall.

WHEREAS, the Caroga Town Board held a work session on Wednesday May 16, 2018, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that this resolution shall amend the resolution granting active town employees free use of the Nick Stoner Golf Course. This resolution shall be amended to be valid only for the year 2018. Only currently employed, full-time, non-elected Town of Caroga employees are entitled to the free use of the Nick Stoner Golf Course. Furthermore, the Town will maintain and provide, to the Golf Pro, a list of all Town employees eligible to receive this benefit.

Council Member Long seconded the motion.

Adopted by a vote of 5 Ayes: Selmser, Glenn, Manning, Long, Kirch

Council Member Glenn wanted to discuss the rates for the use of Sherman’s. He has a concern and did not have a chance to think about it. Council Member Long stated it is negotiable – the rates were removed. Council Member Glenn noted at a previous meeting the board was assigned to come up with what they thought were reasonable rates. He is prepared to do that. Council Member Kirch stated he suggested not setting the rates because $1000.00 for the use of the whole property might scare people away who just want to have a birthday party at the carousel and maybe that was going to be $100, $200 or $300 but they think it is going to be $1,000. He thought it would discourage people from using the property.

Council Member Long stated as an extreme case if someone wanted to use the information booth we wouldn’t charge the same as if they were using the entire thing.

Council Member Glenn came up with a rate of between 5 – 10 people $200 – $100 of which would be a security deposit, 11 – 15 people $300 with the $100 security, plus a security deposit, and for 16 + $500. There would be no exception. He believes we are trying to set parameters.

Council Member Kirch stated he did not think those were unreasonable amounts. He suggested using them as guidelines rather than absolutes.

Supervisor Selmser suggested tabling this and to bring this back up with some other thoughts. It doesn’t mean we are not going to do something. If we had this at the last meeting we may have considered it. Council Member Long stated it was helpful.

At 8:45 pm Council Member Kirch made a motion to adjourn. Council Member Long seconded the motion. All board members were in favor of the motion.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Gilbert, RMC, CMC

Town Clerk

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