B y Dan King

Mud bogging Garry Robinson

Engineer Garry Robinson points to a map of the mud-bogging property during last Thursday’s meeting. The park’s owner Ralph Jameson sits in the background.

Granville town officials and representatives of Mettowee Off Road Extreme Park say they’re on the same page – sort of.
The park’s owner, Ralph Jameson, and engineer Garry Robinson gave a presentation to the town board last Thursday, discussing future plans for the park. Town officials, in the past, have expressed concerns with parking at the park, mud on the road near the park, and the noise from the activities, among other things.
During his presentation to the board, Robinson talked about plans for 108 new campsites at the park, a building to house bathrooms and showers, and running water to many of the campsites.
Robinson also said that the park’s well water was tested recently by the New York State Department of Health, and “the results were good.”
Town officials said they were glad to hear about the progress on those fronts, but a looming concern for them is the parking at the 105-acre property, which straddles the Granville-Whitehall line.
“If it wasn’t for parking, we probably wouldn’t be here right now,” said Councilman Matt Rathbun, who owns property near the site.
Rathbun said his main concern was spectators parking their vehicles up and down county Route 12, blocking the flow of traffic.
Jameson told Rathbun “I do have a plan for the parking situation,” but he didn’t get into the specifics of the plan.
Robinson did get into the specifics, adding, “I know we’re looking to get parking off site … We’re working to get more parking, it’s aggravating for Ralph and I, too.”
“You can come in here and promise everything, but will anything get done? That’s the question,” Rathbun said.
Robinson argued the progress that has already been made at the park is “night and day better,” and he said it would only get better the more changes are made.
“I think these are major steps toward compliance,” Robinson said.
Supervisor Matt Hicks said the progress that is going on inside the park pertains more to the park’s compliance with Department of Health standards. He, like Rathbun, said he was more concerned with parking, nuisance issues and compliance with the town’s campground ordinance.
“If they get parking and work toward compliance with our campground ordinance, we’ll all be singing cumbia,” Hicks said. “I think we’re on the same page.”
Town attorney Mike Martin described the meeting as “informal” and said the goal was to “look at a practical solution and come to a meeting of the minds,” regarding the town’s concerns with the park.
Martin noted that the two parties are currently in litigation regarding the town’s campground ordinance.
Jameson and Robinson repeatedly stressed that there were no plans to turn the park into a campground. They said that camping would only be allowed during mud-bogging events, and that Jameson hopes to have about one event per month during mud-bogging season.
Rathbun was skeptical, posing the hypothetical, “If I offer Ralph $1,000 to keep my camper there, you’re telling me he’s going to say no?”
Robinson replied, “That’s what we’re saying, we are going to say ‘no’.”
Hicks concluded the discussion, saying, “Let’s revisit this a couple times in 2016. If things don’t change there’s some talks to be had, otherwise I think we’re good.”

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