LAKE GEORGE-Three Warren County town governments joined a rising tide of dissent this week, as they unanimously passed separate resolutions against new feeder stream setback regulations proposed by the Lake George Park Commission.
The town boards of Lake George, Warrensburg and Hague voted this week to officially oppose the proposed regulations -- alongside the Town of Bolton, which passed a similar resolution last week. Wednesday, the Warrensburg Town Board voted unanimously against the setback rules, following Hague's vote Tuesday and Lake George Town Board's "Nay" vote on Monday.
The regulations, however, are supported by a long list of
environmental groups as well as individual area residents, who say
they are vital in protecting the water quality of Lake George and
its associated waterways.
If enacted, clearing of vegetation would be forbidden on property
that is 50 feet from the high-water mark of any stream which feeds
into Lake George. Further, very limited vegetation clearing would be
allowed within an additional 50 feet from the streams.
"These regulations would greatly devalue private property in town,"
Councilman Scott Wood said Monday. "Over 2,200 parcels or roughly 22
percent of the private property in Lake George would be negatively
The Park Commission has proposed the new regulations in order to
preserve the lake's water quality - which has been compromised,
Commission officials said, by a boom of hillside construction
projects in recent years. According to the Commission, phosphorus
levels are on the rise resulting in algae blooms which devastate
aquatic life by reducing oxygen levels.
In their resolution, the Lake George Town Board argued that the Park
Commission has no concrete scientific data to justify the assertion
that increased algae blooms are a direct result of development
adjacent to feeder streams. Further, the town board argued that the
Commission did not consult with the communities that would be
affected and that the regulations are not only redundant, but in
direct conflict with the principles of home rule.
At present, the Town of Lake George requires a 30-foot setback from
"The resolution this board just passed is filled with incorrect
information," Lake George Waterkeeper Spokesman Chris
Navitsky told the Lake George Town Board Monday. "The claim that
there is no scientific data is false as is the claim that there was
no town involvement - Lake George was contacted before the new rules
were announced, but no one responded until after the fact."
Navitsky said that there is irrefutable evidence that the algae
blooms found at the confluence of the lake and a feeder stream are
directly associated with human development. He also said that the
town's regulations are rarely if ever enforced and are therefore
But Navitsky's claims did not sway everyone.
"All this is is a taking of land from the property owner -bottom
line," said Lake George resident Mike Lanfear, who owns 10 acres that
would be affected by the proposed regulations. "Why do we even need a
Park Commission anyway? We already have the APA."
Lanfear was not the only Lake George resident expressing sentiments
against the proposed regulations. Some attending Monday's meeting
said they believe that there are institutional forces at work
influencing the LGPC's actions.
"People are a part of the environment too," said Barry Kincaide of
the Lake George Property Owners group. "The Fund for Lake George has
pushed the commission into enacting unfair laws which are blatant
violations of home-rule."
But Navitsky stood up for his viewpoints, citing research and
"The lake is on the path to mezotropic conditions," Navitsky said.
"These conditions are unable to support life."
Over 150 streams feed into Lake George.
A public hearing regarding the proposed stream setback regulations
will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 24 at the Lake George Holiday Inn.
Public comments will be accepted by the Lake George Park Commission
until March 15