Schenectady County

Glenville, ropes course owner at odds over permit

A ropes course opened last week in town without the proper permit in place, the town said.
Michael Cellini is photographed at his Mountain Ridge Adventure ropes and zip line course this spring.
Michael Cellini is photographed at his Mountain Ridge Adventure ropes and zip line course this spring.

A ropes course opened last week in town without the proper permit in place, the town said.

Glenville officials on Thursday sent the owner of Mountain Ridge Adventure, a ropes and zip line course, a notice of violation saying that the business can’t legally open.

Mountain Ridge Adventure officially opened last Friday, but Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the town never received some paperwork that is required before the course can legally do so. However, owner and general manager Michael Cellini said he has done all he needs to be able to open.

“Mr. Cellini brought us to this point, the town didn’t bring us to this point,” Koetzle said.

The missing documents include a permit from New York state, proof of the required insurance, which Koetzle said will be contained within the state permit, and forms that show the course was built in accordance with the site plan the town’s Planning Board previously approved.

Koetzle said Cellini has told the town that he has a state permit. But in order to legally operate, Koetzle said, Cellini has to go through a process that starts with presenting the document to the town.

The state permit will show that the ropes course has been inspected and approved, indicating that the zip lines, the harness equipment, the ropes and other parts of the course meet safety requirements. Once that is submitted, the Glenville fire chief and police chief will review it to ensure it meets town requirements, Koetzle said.

After the chiefs sign off on the permit, the Town Board must grant a town permit. That must be done at a regularly scheduled meeting, Koetzle said. The next Town Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday. If the paperwork isn’t completed before then, it will have to wait until the board’s July meeting.

Cellini said in an interview that he’s spoken with his attorney and the state Department of Labor about the matter. He said the Labor Department told him he doesn’t have to submit his permit, and that if the Town Board wants a copy, they can file a FOIL request for it.

“If they send more letters, let them send it, but I am legally allowed to open up,” he said.

The Glenville town code states that it’s unlawful to operate or conduct business “having its principal purpose the entertainment of people with mechanical equipment without first obtaining a permit therefor from the Town Board of the Town of Glenville.”

The notice of violations only gives Cellini until today to remedy the situation and present the proper paperwork, or else it will be referred to the courts. Koetzle said Cellini could face a fine of up to $250 per day for each day he’s in violation of the code, dating to when the course opened.

Koetzle said the town has previously sent Cellini letters about their issues. Cellini said he got a letter a few weeks ago, which he said he responded to. He said that at no point in his Planning Board or Zoning Board proceedings was it indicated he’d need an amusement park permit.

“Everyone I speak with says this is insane and that this course is an incredible asset to the community,” he said.

Cellini had the course built on his 50-acre plot in West Glenville, which is in a rural residential and agricultural zoning district. As the project moved through the approval process with the Planning Board, some neighbors and area residents expressed frustration at the ropes course being built in a rural community. Some had concerns over additional traffic on their street, while others were worried about noise or possible expansion of the course.

Cellini said the course is only open on weekends until school gets out for the summer, adding that it drew a large crowd over opening weekend.

Categories: Business, Life and Arts, News

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