- Rich Klein
Massive 'Cabin' Project Before Bethel Planning Board Would Impact Smallwood & Beyond
Updated: Jan 7, 2022
(This is a developing story)
A massive 'cabin' development project presented by BESIDE Cabins of Canada is aimed for an 800-acre area just south of Mountain Lake in Smallwood and, if approved, would have a significant impact on residents of the Bethel hamlet and the Town of Bethel.
The project application for a subdivision and campground is up for discussion before the Town of Bethel Planning Board on Monday, December 6. The meeting starts at 7:30 pm at the Dr. Duggan Community Center in White Lake.
According to the company's engineers, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., the project site would be located along the west side of Pine Grove Road. The development would begin just south of Smallwood Lake and the engineering firm said construction could be completed by Spring 2025.
Source image from VHB
"Ninety percent of the cabin lots will be sold to private owners, and 10% will be rental units maintained by BESIDE Cabins," VHB said in an August report about the project. "The pod units will be 100% rental units that will be compact off-the-grid units of approximately 200 square feet. All residents and guests will share the site amenities which will include a natural park consisting of nature trails, lakes, small libraries in the forest, and recreational equipment such as climbing walls and canoes. Common area buildings will also include a pavilion for guest check in, a small campground store, a music studio, and workshops for arts, crafts, woodworking, recreational use, and material storage. Two or three larger group cottages (20 person) will be constructed for group outing such as corporate retreats. Access to the site is proposed via one new full access driveway on Pine Grove Road and an emergency
access via Hartwood Drive. "
A group of Smallwood residents have formed SmART - Smallwood Aware Residents Team - to start informing the community about the project. They have also raised funds to retain an attorney and environmental engineer, and say on Facebook that they have recently been advised to consult a traffic engineer to counter a newly-discovered traffic study that was completed June 15. The group believes the engineering firm's traffic study "contains misleading information about our population density. " The residents' group launched its Facebook page on September 15 and has 179 followers as of Monday night.
Below is a photo of Mountain Lake in Smallwood as seen in 2016. The project would begin just south of here.