Resort developer Arthur Lussi has asked the village of Lake Placid to amend a zoning rule that limits the construction of new buildings on his property to 35 feet in height.
Lussi is a co-owner of two village properties that had been part of a zoning district known as "resort/hotel" since 1967, a classification that permitted the construction of buildings up to 40-feet high.
A new joint land-use and development code for the village of Lake Placid and town of North Elba that went into effect earlier this year changed the zoning district of Lussi's properties to a classification with a height restriction of 35 feet.
Lussi said the change came without his knowledge.
Now he wants the zoning rules changed back to once again permit a 40-foot maximum building height.
"Our family has had permission since the 1960s to construct buildings to this height," Lussi said.
"We are not doing anything earth-shattering," he added. "This is thoughtful development."
One of the affected properties is a 22-acre tract on the east shore of Mirror Lake, the former site of the Lake Placid Club, a famous turn-of-the-century social club.
The other property is located on Mirror Lake Drive and was used as a dormitory for the Lake Placid Club.
Lussi said his family has been planning the redevelopment of both sites for decades, and drafted a master plan that was approved by the state Adirondack Park Agency in 1997.
The master plan includes hotel buildings for both sites up to 40 feet in height, according to Lussi.
In March, Lussi applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance to build a taller hotel in place of the dorm building, but the ZBA denied approval of a taller building. They cited excessive visual impact in their decision.
Dean Dietrich is chairman of the Technical Steering Committee that drew up the new zoning rules and considers possible changes as the rules take effect.
Dietrich told WNBZ that portions of the village that include the Lussi properties were changed to a zone called "village center," a classification that does lower the maximum height of the building, but is otherwise less restrictive because it permits larger building footprints and denser development.
Dietrich said the classification is designed to result in a more appropriate visual impact for a village setting.
"The question we asked ourselves [during the planning process] was: do we really want a building that high on Mirror Lake?" Dietrich said.
Dietrich says his opinion on the matter hasn't changed, but that he's open to considering Lussi's argument on the merits of reclassifying the districts.
"If there are problems we should take a look at them," Dietrich said.
"What we'd have to look at is a 40-foot allowance for the whole village center, or create two separate zones," he added.
The Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees and North Elba Town Council will have to make the ultimate decision. They agreed to consult with the steering committee and issue a decision within a month.