Lake George Mayor Robert Blais (center) and village trustee Joe Mastrodomenico (foreground, left) review documents at the July village board meeting. The board is holding a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday July 22 on whether to allow buildings as high as six stories or 72 feet to be developed, as well as a new set of architectural standards for new construction. The latter is intended to upgrade the appearance and ambiance of the village, while the former is envisioned to boost year-round commerce and bolster property values.
The proposed village zoning law changes that would allow buildings in certain commercial districts to be as tall as 72 feet high and would set strict design standards is headed to a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday July 22 at the village hall, according to a vote by the village board July 15.
The concepts were presented to the public in late March, and a subsequent joint meeting was held with the village board, planning board, and zoning steering committee during which several of the proposals were tweaked.Village officials said Monday July 15 that the ordinances now under consideration were not yet available because they hadn’t been fully drafted — but they’d be ready for the public to review at the July 22 hearing. The village board could theoretically approve the laws at the upcoming meeting, but individual board members pledged July 15 they would give the proposed laws full review, as evaluate public input.
The proposed zoning changes call for buildings of up to six floors (a maximum of 72 feet high) to be permitted from Mountain Drive south to McGillis Avenue on the west side of Canada St. as well as certain properties owned by the Fort William Henry and the Lake George Steamboat Co. All other areas on the west side of Canada Street are to have height restrictions raised to 45 feet or four stories from the present three — throughout the commercial resort and commercial mixed-use zones.
The design restrictions call for more green space, additional setbacks and improved architectural elements on new buildings and extensive renovations.
Proposed zoning changes include prohibiting certain lower-grade building materials, specifying building orientation on properties, and setting architectural and appearance standards. Such requirements include allowing only earth-tone and historic colors, mandating that doorways be recessed, and that windows be appropriately spaced and sized, and that story heights are compatible with neighboring buildings.
Design standards would include prohibiting long, flat, blank walls and rooflines, and calling for the use of dormers, parapets, stepped roofs, balconies, cornices, plus wall offsets and recesses to create visual appeal.
Such architectural standards would apply only to new construction or substantial renovations.
Mayor Robert Blais and village trustees have said repeatedly that the changes, which would make the village more hospitable to responsible developers, would boost the village’s prosperity and spur increases in property values, as well as improve the appearance of the commercial zone.
There is a proposal now pending to construct a six-story chain hotel in the village as well as some additional development in other areas. The height increase had sparked controversy earlier this year, with some citizens worried about how the taller buildings might obscure views or radically change the character of the village. But proponents contended the proposed height increases would have minimal effect on views and would create jobs, boost retail business and attract upscale development.
The Adirondack Park Agency recently ruled the stipulations on height increase could be included in the ordinance, but that projects involving such large buildings would still be subject to review.
Blais voiced support Tuesday for the proposed ordinances.
“I think they are a great step in the right direction, bringing new construction into a common theme, featuring harmonious architecture,” he said.