Lisa Nagle of Elan Planning, Design and Landscape Architecture holds map of Lake George village during the village’s Lake George Steering Committee meeting on Oct. 23.
Members of the village’s Lake George Steering Committee met at the town offices to discuss the viability of rezoning the village’s commercial district and allowing the construction of an eight-story building on Tuesday, Oct 23.
Although they met to discuss policy and regulations, committee members and residents unearthed the deeper question of where they want the village of Lake George to go in the future.
“The issue before you is how do you want to see the future of Lake George,” said Dave Kenny, who proposed the development of the eight-story hotel in downtown Lake George, during the public comment portion of the meeting. “I’m interested in seeing this town 20 years down the road, and I want to see things better.”
The meeting was the second for the newly appointed committee, which consists of eight members from the village Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Village Board, Lake George Town Board and local residents and business owners. They are Ray Perry, Marisa Muratori, Herbert Weber, Dan Wolfield, John Earl, Dennis Barden, Tom Sullivan, and Chairman of the Steering Committee Ron Mogren.
Lisa Nagle from Elan Planning, Design and Landscape Architecture outlined Adirondack Park guidelines the town would need to consider for a building something more than four stories, or 40 feet high. She also outlined the current zoning regulations.
Issues centered around the village’s water treatment center, parking, and the constant shadow an eight-story building would cast over homes behind the proposed hotel.
The controversial proposal submitted by Kenny comes while the village is studying the water treatment plant. The committee must decide how much of the village’s system the hotel would require.
In an earlier Adirondack Journal report, Lake George Mayor Robert Blais noted that the additional plant inflows might reduce the amount of treatment capacity the village now allots for the town’s Caldwell Sewer District, thus limiting development in the town outside village limits.
The village is already upgrading the plant with a $900,000 project that would reduce nitrates in the plants outflows, as well as increase its treatment efficiency.
The issue of limited parking in the village and bringing in a facility with limited land surrounding the building would cause problems for people staying at the facility or cause an excess of parking troubles on the street during an event.
Nagle said regulations require the hotel to provide at least one space per room but do not require the hotel to provide more space than a banquet with many guests.
The hotel envisioned as 86 feet tall, which is about five stories and 46 feet taller than allowable for the village zoning codes.
The hotel was proposed to be a full-service enterprise with banquet facilities. It was proposed for the plot on Canada Street north of Amherst Street that now hosts Giuseppe's Pizzeria and Restaurant.
Kenny owns Marine Village across the street from Giuseppe’s, as well as the Inn at Erlowest, and he developed the Adirondack Outlet Mall just south of Lake George.
The hotel was proposed to feature 114 guest rooms —most of them suites.
Village or tourist destination
Joanne Gavin, a resident of the town of Lake George, said the Village Board needed to realize the decisions made in the village have an effect on all the people of Lake George, in the town and the village.
“We don’t necessarily need to come in and invest $15 million in the community,” Gavin said. “We just need people who love this town to invest in it.”
Charlie Curto, owner of the Spaghetti House in the village, said the town needs to make changes so business owners can afford to be year round and not only open in the summer.
“I see the people walking every day, and every year the amount of people are diminishing,” Curto said.
Kenny said the inclusion of a large hotel such as the proposed project would not remain empty during the off season but would bring in people year round.
“We don’t need more people in here in July and August; we need more people here tonight,” Kenny said.
The steering committee will hold its next meeting on Nov. 13. There will be two meetings a month until the village board makes a decision on its development priorities in late January or early February.