The Hamlet of Smallwood
Civic Association of Smallwood, Inc. (SWCA)
Aren’t they one and the same?
No, they are not. Smallwood is an unincorporated hamlet of the Town of Bethel, Sullivan County, New York. The Civic Association of Smallwood, Inc. (SWCA) is a New York State Not For Profit Corporation, incorporated in 1943, and made up of homeowners from within the hamlet of Smallwood.
While it was just stated that the SWCA is an organization whose members are homeowners in the hamlet of Smallwood (see the Boundary Map) the SWCA is not a homeowners association (HOA). We are a 501c7 (not-for-profit social organization). A 501c7 organization must be primarily supported by dues, fees, charges, or other funds paid by members.
Why is the difference important and what are the practical implications of this difference?
The SWCA is a civic organization not a civil authority. As such, the SWCA can only make and enforce rules with regard to our Constitution and By-laws, our Member Code of Conduct and our facilities.
While Mountain Lake, its beach and its shoreline on Lakeshore Drive are the private property of the Smallwood Civic Association, Lakeshore Drive and the roads in Smallwood are Town of Bethel property and are maintained by the Town.
If I own a home in Smallwood am I automatically a member of the Civic Association?
No. There is no requirement that owners of a home in the hamlet must join the Civic Association.
The SWCA, however, is the sole owner of Mountain Lake, and the Lodge/Park Complex which includes the ball field, the tennis/pickleball courts, the basketball court and the playground. Owners of eligible homes who share the mission of the SWCA and wish for their family and their guests to use the above-mentioned facilities and engage in the numerous social activities sponsored by the SWCA may apply for membership.
Resident non-member Smallwood homeowners or resident non-member full-time Smallwood renters are not permitted to be guests of a Civic Association member.
The Forest Reserve and the Town Dog Park are in Smallwood. Are they SWCA facilities?
The Forest Reserve at Smallwood and the Dog Park on its premises are not the property of the SWCA. This land and both facilities are owned, overseen and maintained by the Town of Bethel. The SWCA has no authority or enforcement powers with regard to either.
So, if you need information about either, or wish to report a problem with the behavior of a dog or the dog’s owner at the Dog Park, or that something is untoward, amiss or dangerous at the Forest Reserve you should call the Town of Bethel at (845) 583-4350 or email the Town Clerk at email@example.com. For helpful information about Bethel visit the website: www.townofbethelny.us
My neighbor’s dog is aggressive and also barks all day long. Who do I call?
The Town of Bethel Department of Animal Control. The Animal Control Officer (ACO) is in charge of all dog matters such as complaints, dog attacks or bites. The website is here: https://townofbethelny.us/animal-control
My neighbor with the aggressive dog is a member of the SWCA. Can’t the SWCA do something?
In the event that the dog’s aggressive behavior occurs on SWCA property, our Code of Conduct clearly delineates Members’ responsibilities with regard to their pets. However, as the only things we have agency over are our facilities and as the SWCA has neither regulatory nor legislative powers and cannot enforce the Town’s laws then, again, this issue needs to be addressed by the Town of Bethel Department of Animal Control or, should the incident escalate, Law Enforcement.
Another neighbor tends to have parties with loud music and general carrying on which lasts until late at night. Who do I call about that?
Again, in the moment, this is a Town matter. For non-emergency matters contact the Town Hall at (845) 583-4350 ext. 101 or the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department at (845) 794-7100. For emergencies call 911. Town of Bethel Constables patrol our roadways, handle motor vehicle accidents, answer complaints, investigate and report on robberies, theft, mischief, vandalism, etc.
However, if the neighboring house has a rental agreement with the SWCA you do have recourse. The homeowner and the renters are subject to the SWCA Code of Conduct.
My neighbor is building a deck, a garage, and a shed on the property line. Who do I call?
Again, this is a matter for the Town of Bethel, in this case the Building Department. You can call them at (845) 583-4350 ext. 105 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org