Civic Association of Smallwood, New York, Inc. 

Becoming a Member FAQs

Who can become a Member?

All Smallwood homeowners are eligible for membership in the Civic Association of Smallwood (hereinafter referred to as the Association or SWCA). 

I own property in Smallwood.  Can I join the Association?

If you own vacant land, then the answer is No.  If you own a house and can produce a Deed with your name on it, then the answer is Yes.

Where can I get an application?

An application can be completed here

What documentation do I need to submit?

Proof of homeownership, such as your deed.  Utility bills (e.g., NYSEG, Spectrum) are not proof of ownership (they are simply proof of residence).

Is there a fee required to submit an application?

There is no application fee, but there are fees associated with Membership.

What are those fees?

There are annual Membership Dues and, for all new member homes, there is a one time non-refundable Membership Initiation Fee.  This fee is earmarked for a dedicated fund, the Lake Capital Improvement Fund

What is the Lake Capital Improvement Fund for?

The sole purpose of this fund is to ensure the ongoing environmental sustainability and health of Mountain Lake, its shoreline, beach, and dam. This fund enables the Association to set aside money for the repair and maintenance of the dam, beach and other facilities and infrastructure associated with the Association’s use of the lake. 

How much is the Membership Initiation Fee?

The Membership Initiation Fee is presently $750.

Would I only have to pay a Membership Initiation Fee once?

As long as you pay your Membership Dues annually, then, Yes, that is correct.  However, should you fail to remit your Membership Dues on or before the 30th of June of the Membership Year (i.e., the last day of the Membership Year; Membership Years are from July 1st until the following June 30th) then your Membership shall have lapsed and you would need to reapply for membership as a new member and would be subject to the Membership Initiation Fee.

If, for any reason, my membership in the Association ends will my Membership Initiation Fee be returned?

No.  The Membership Initiation Fee is non-refundable.

What are the annual Membership Dues?

For 2022, Membership Dues are $350.

If, for any reason, my membership in the Association ends before the end of a particular membership year (July 1 to the following June 30) will my dues be prorated and refunded?


I have my home in Smallwood and I also own a second home in Smallwood. Would my membership include that second home?

No.  Each home requires a separate membership, should a category for that second home exist  (and each home is subject to the Member Initiation Fee). 

When would I need to pay the Membership Initiation Fee and my Dues?

After submitting your application and proof of homeownership you may

a). send a personal check via the USPS to Smallwood Civic Association, P.O. Box 151, Smallwood, NY, 12778, or

        b). pay electronically via the website.

The application asks that I put in a Primary Member and a Secondary Member.   Why?

The holder of the Deed for the house is the Primary Member.  The reason for a Secondary Member is because each Member Household with a Secondary Member, as per the SWCA Constitution, is entitled to two votes.  A Secondary Member must be eighteen (18) years of age or older. Voting within the SWCA is limited to Primary and Secondary Members.  Also, you will be issued two membership cards.

My spouse and I are both named on the deed as owners.  Who should be the Primary member?

That decision is totally up to the two of you.

May I list anyone I want as the Secondary Member?

A Secondary Member must be a spouse, a lineal family member (i.e., grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, sibling), or the “significant other” or “partner” of the Primary Member.  A Secondary Member must also be eighteen (18) years of age or older. 

I don’t have anyone who fits the criteria to be my Secondary Member.  How does that affect my membership?

If there is only a Primary Member listed for your household you will only be issued one Membership Card (Primary, but no Secondary) and, as per the SWCA Constitution, you have only one vote in SWCA affairs.  However, a household without a Secondary Member is entitled to five (5) Guest Cards.

What is required of me as a Member?

In order to become a Member or to renew your membership you are required, as part of both of those processes, to acknowledge that you have read certain documents pertaining to membership and that you agree to the terms and provisions set forth in each of them.  These documents are:                        

a)    SWCA Member Code of Conduct

b)   SWCA Membership Benefits

c)    SWCA Beach Rules

d)   SWCA Dock and Dock Use Rules

e)   SWCA Watercraft, Fishing and Watercraft Registration Sticker Rules

We have two children. Do they get membership cards?

If your household has listed both a Primary and Secondary Member then you will receive two Membership cards (Primary and Secondary) and are further entitled to four (4) Guest Cards linked by number to your Membership Household.  Your children will use the Guest Cards. A Guest Card is valid for people of any age, however, Guest Cards are to be used by household Members and household guests and they may not be used by any renter of the Member home(s).  All children three (3) years of age or younger, are not required to have a Guest Card when at any SWCA facility or SWCA event or activity, however, they MUST be signed in and accompanied by a parent or an adult, at least eighteen (18) years of age or older.

What does a Guest Card entitle a person to?

Guests are entitled to use Civic Association facilities and may attend events and activities sponsored by the Association in the following manner:

a)    Guests may use the beach, but they must be signed into the beach by a Member whose membership identification number is         linked to the Guest Cards.  The Member may also present a Guest Pass Punch Card (discussed in a subsequent question) to secure their entrance.

b)   Guests may use the lake, boat launch, and the facilities at the Lodge Park Complex without the Member host present.

c)    Guests may attend SWCA events and activities (e.g., yoga class, pot-luck dinner, children’s carnival) but must be accompanied by the Member and present the Guest Card or a Guest Pass Punch Card in order to participate.

Remember, guests must have their Guest Card on their person while on Association property and produce it when asked.

Is there anything my guests are not entitled to?

Guests may not attend meetings of the General Membership without written permission from the SWCA Board of Directors.

If my sister and her partner visit we will have more people than passes.  Can I borrow some Guest Cards from my neighbor for them to use?

No, you may not “borrow” Guest Cards from other Members and you may not use your Primary or Secondary Membership Cards as a Guest Card.

Doing so would violate the SWCA Code of Conduct and subject you to disciplinary action.

Does that mean we can’t all go to the beach together?

Not at all.  Should you have more guests than the number of Guest Cards issued to you, you may purchase a Guest Pass Punch Card to accommodate your additional guests.  You will present the Guest Pass Punch Card to the gatekeeper and for each additional guest they will punch out one hole.

Guest Pass Punch Cards are available with either five (5) punches per card or ten (10) punches per card and are valid for the entire Membership Year.

OR, if your know that you will have a guest for a specific set of time, you can purchase a Weekly Guest Pass which is the equivalent of an additional Guest Card, but is only valid for a specific set of seven consecutive days.

How much does a  Guest Pass Punch Card cost?

Guest Pass Punch Cards will be available for the 2022 Membership Year as follows: A five (5) punch card is $25 and a ten (10) punch card is $50.

How much does a Weekly Guest Pass cost?

For the 2022 Membership Year a Weekly Guest Pass is available for $25 for a week (again, as defined by your specific set of seven consecutive days).

Do my guests have any responsibilities?

Yes.  Guests must have their Guest Card on their person while on Association property and produce it when asked.  Additionally, your guests should be familiar with and abide by the SWCA Code of Conduct and all SWCA Rules and Regulations.  Failure to do so on their part may result in the suspension or revocation of your Membership.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your household members and your guests are familiar with the SWCA’s Code of Conduct, Beach Rules, Docks and Dock Use Rules and Watercraft, Fishing and Watercraft Registration Sticker Rules.

If I sell my home, does the buyer automatically become a Member?

No.  Should they wish to join the SWCA they need to apply as described above.

I am a Member.  I am selling my present home and I have purchased and will be moving into a new home in Smallwood.  Do I have to pay the Membership Initiation Fee?

As you are moving into the new home you have purchased in Smallwood then you are essentially transferring your household Membership from one address in Smallwood to another.  So the answer is No, you would not be responsible for the Membership Initiation Fee. You paid that fee when you originally became a member and the move you are making is not creating a new Membership household.

What if I change my mind about selling the first home, but I will be moving into my newly purchased Smallwood home?

If you move into the new home and wish to transfer your household Membership to that new address in Smallwood then the situation is the same as described above but with the caveat that each household Membership applies to a single house.  That means that should you decide to rent your original home and you would like to allow your renters access to Association facilities (as described for renters) you would have to apply for a new membership for that house and you would be subject to the Membership Initiation Fee. 

If I purchase a second home in Smallwood does the Membership of my first home cover that second home?

No, it would not.

I am a new member.  What do I do with my garbage?

Bethel residents may bring their garbage and recycling to the Town of Bethel Transfer Station.  To do so requires a Bethel Resident sticker (for your vehicle) which you can get from the Town Clerk.

The Transfer Station charges a fee per each thirty (30) gallon bag of garbage which can be paid directly at the Transfer Station.  You can also purchase a book of discounted coupons (one coupon per bag) from the Town Clerk.

Recycling is free of charge.  To get your Town of Bethel Resident sticker for your car you can contact the Town Clerk.

The website for the Town Clerk is:

The Transfer Station is located at 608 Old White Lake Turnpike,

Swan Lake, NY 12783.

The website for the Transfer Station is:

When does the water to my home get turned on?

If your home has its water supplied by J D Water Co. you will need to contact them to get this information.   They are a private business and the SWCA has no control over when the water gets turned on or off or the water quality being supplied.  Their telephone number is (845) 583- 4211.

The dates that the seasonal water is turned on and off varies from year to year based upon several factors, among them, the temperature and the extent of the seasonal repair required of the infrastructure (above and below ground) that the J D Water Co. must perform.  If the Civic Association is informed of these dates each year we will share this information with Members via the Civic website and the Facebook page.

What kind of watercraft can I put on the lake?

Rowboats, kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, inflatable boats and paddleboards may be used on the lake.  Jet Skis, WaveRunners, Sea-Doos, AquaTrax or any other personal watercraft colloquially referred to as Jet Skis or water scooters are prohibited.  Additionally, jet boats are prohibited.  All Member watercraft, intended for use on Mountain Lake and/or stored on Association property must be registered and have a sticker affixed. Guests may not use their own watercraft on Mountain Lake.

New York State law also requires that Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) must be in/on the watercraft while using watercraft on our lake.   There must be one PFD for each person on board (for example, 2 adults, 2 PFDs).  All children under the age of twelve (12) must wear a PFD and the PFD must be the size appropriate for the child.  For more detailed information consult the Watercraft, Fishing and Watercraft Registration Sticker Rules.

Can I put my motor on my rowboat?

Gas engines (internal combustion engines and boat mounted combustion engines) are forbidden.  Electric trolling motors with a maximum speed of 5 mph are permitted.  No other types of engines or motors are permitted.  You should know that New York State law requires that all mechanically propelled boats must be registered.  For more detailed information consult the Watercraft, Fishing and Watercraft Registration Sticker Rules.

Registered with whom?

With New York State.  Boat registrations are handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles.  For more detailed information consult the Watercraft, Fishing and Watercraft Registration Sticker Rules.

I have noticed some people with yellow baseball caps and clipboards around the lake.  Who are they?

They are volunteer Lake Patrol members.

What do they do?

Our lake and our facilities are privately owned by all of us, the members of the SWCA and are not places of public accommodation.  The Lake Patrol will ensure that the Association’s rules and regulations are being adhered to, including that our facilities are used only by those who are so entitled by virtue of Membership, guest privilege or a rental agreement, all of which are governed by the Association.

Can I fish in Mountain Lake?

Yes you may, but be aware that even though Mountain Lake is a private lake a New York State fishing license is required for anyone sixteen (16) years of age or older.  It’s the law.

For the health of the lake and the propagation of our bass stock, the SWCA is committed to a catch and release protocol for bass and larger fish.  The SWCA encourages you to please use your good judgment and limit your take of pan fish.

I don’t own a house on the lake. Can I put a dock along the shoreline?

Only a limited number of Members are considered for permission to install and maintain a dock on Association property (Mountain Lake), specifically, those whose homes are directly across from Mountain Lake on Lake Shore Drive or Stratton Avenue.  Presently, there is a moratorium on construction of any new docks on Mountain Lake.  For more detailed information consult the Docks and Dock Usage Rules.

Can my guests use the tennis courts without me being present?

As long as each of your guests have a Guest Card on their person then the answer is Yes.  They must follow all rules and regulations that apply to the use of the tennis courts.

What about the pool?

The SWCA does not own a pool.  The Club at Smallwood, a private, member-owned club is the owner of the pool.  The SWCA and The Club at Smallwood are two separate and distinct organizations.  Many members of the SWCA are also members of The Club at Smallwood.  To get more information about The Club at Smallwood visit their website here:

Can I throw a party at the Lodge or the beach?

The Lake Hill Lodge is available for rent by Members for private functions, subject to availability.  An Event Permit for the use of the Lake Hill Lodge is available on the SWCA website here

The beach may not be used for private parties/celebrations (e.g., a formal gathering, an organization’s gathering or gathering by invitation) during established and regular hours of operation.  During off hours, the beach may be engaged for private use depending upon the proposed usage.  Should one be interested please write to the Civic Association by using the Contact Us tab at the bottom of this page.   

Can I ice fish and ice skate on the lake?

The SWCA makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the safety of venturing onto any portion of Mountain Lake where the surface may be frozen.  The SWCA clearly gives notice that such action is dangerous.  Doing so is at your own risk and peril.

I am a really good swimmer. Can I swim around the lake?

It is expressly prohibited, and there shall be no swimming, diving or jumping into the Lake from any dock or from any point on the shoreline of Civic Association Lake Property except designated swimming areas off Smallwood Beach.

Swimming beyond the confines of the designated areas at the Beach (i.e., beyond the ropes) or swimming from watercraft/boats are both without lifeguard supervision and protection, and have risks inherent in their act; doing so is at one’s own risk and peril.  For more detailed information consult the Docks and Dock Usage Rules, the Watercraft, Fishing and Watercraft Registration Sticker Rules. and the Beach Rules. 

What about using floats on the lake?

Using any type of recreational flotation device, including but not limited to, inflatable rafts, plastic floats or rings and tire inner tubes, beyond the confines of the designated areas (i.e., beyond the ropes at the beach), as it is without lifeguard supervision and protection, has risks inherent in the act; doing so is at one’s own risk and peril.

Furthermore, the use of and congregating with recreational flotation devices, as described above, around a dock or any point on the shoreline of Civic Association Lake Property except designated swimming areas off Smallwood Beach is prohibited. 

I have a question that wasn’t addressed in these FAQs.  How can I get an answer?

If you came to this page with a specific question that was not addressed OR if in the future you think of a question regarding the SWCA or SWCA policy for which you would like an answer (not an opinion) you can contact the SWCA Board directly by clicking on the Contact Us link found at the bottom right of this page.

For more detailed information please consult the following documents: 

Member Code of Conduct

Membership Benefits

Beach Rules

Docks and Dock Use Rules

Watercraft, Fishing and Watercraft Registration Sticker Rules 

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Civic Association of Smallwood, NY, Inc.
P.O. Box 151
Smallwood NY 12778
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