The first rendition of the proposed six-story Lake George Marriott hotel was panned Wednesday Sept. 18 by the village planning board for its boxy mass and lack of architectural appeal, and the developers vowed to make changes.
After architectural drawings of the proposed six-story Marriott hotel were criticized Wednesday Sept. 18 by the village planning board, and the developers of the enterprise vowed to initiate changes to make the hotel more visually appealing.
Developer Dave Kenny announced this summer his intention to build a hotel in downtown Lake George with 120 guest rooms and extensive banquet and conference facilities. Wednesday was a workshop meeting of the board to take a first look at a tentative initial proposal. The hotel plans also must go before the Adirondack Park Agency, and that is expected within weeks.
After other planning board members spent about 30 minutes Wednesday asking developer Dave Kenny about traffic patterns, parking and where a dumpster might be located, Patricia Dow raised the issue of aesthetics. She criticized the long, flat, blank walls and virtually uninterrupted roofline — and how they would not conform to the village’s new architectural standards adopted this spring.
These regulations prohibit the dull, boxy look and call for the use of dormers, parapets, stepped roofs, cornices, plus wall offsets and recesses, which were absent or minimal in the drawings presented Wednesday.
“This is really just a large flat surface — I don’t see it has visual interest, and it’s important to the community to make it look attractive,” Dow said. “Make more of an Adirondack statement and make it a credit to the community, Marriott and you.”
When Kenny debated her points, she produced depictions of the Lake Placid Marriott, which includes multiple planes, recesses, colors, materials, staggered rooflines and other architectural elements.
Dow said that after the Fort William Henry Hotel was built several years ago, she’d heard complaints about its boxy, unimaginative architecture — although it was supposed to have many of the design features of the historic hotel that once stood on the site.
“This is a large mass of a building — it’s sort of like a dormitory,” she said of the Marriott hotel proposal. “I’d be ashamed if it were in our village.”
After Dow broke the ice on the subject, other planning board members echoed her point.
“I agree with everything she said,” fellow Planning Board member Dean Howland said, suggesting “bumping out” rooms to provide visual interest. He said that it was important for this hotel, the village’s first large one, to set a precedent with appealing architecture.
Planning Board Chairman Mastrantoni added his thoughts.
“We’re looking for a design with a more Adirondack feel,” he told Kenny, noting that more exposed beams, stonework, varied building materials, contrasting colors and staggered multiple rooflines would create appeal. “It could be more visually intriguing and break up what would otherwise be a huge mass.”
Howland added another comment.
“The design could be more articulated,” he said.
Chuck Luke said the north and south ends of the building were blank and dull.
“This reminds me of someone building a four-bedroom colonial and they ran out of money,” he said, examining a depiction of the hotel’s southern end.
Dow also said she objected to the primarily white exterior, saying it was too stark. She noted that it would be visually prominent not only from downtown, but from the lake — a point that Kenny contested.
Questions were also raised about troublesome traffic prompted by the the development. Planning Board member Chuck Luke expressed concern about traffic snarls on Canada St. as well as on Ottawa St. where the school busses converge at the nearby high school both mornings and mid-afternoon.
Board members suggested prohibiting right-hand turns onto Ottawa St. from the hotel’s rear driveway either during particular weekday hours, or banning them altogether, depending on the findings of a traffic study.
Concerns were also raised about a driveway, proposed as a one-way hotel parking lot exit onto Canada St.
Kenny said that the hotel would not be generating that much traffic, and that most of it would access the property via Amherst St.
Questions were also raised about where trucks delivering supplies and banquet staging equipment would park and unload. Kenny said such traffic would be minimal — and he would be willing to ask suppliers to service the hotel using 20-foot city vans rather than 18-wheelers.
Several planning board members also questioned whether there was enough parking — for hotel guests, banquet attendees and hotel employees. Kenny responded that most of the banquets would be held on shoulder seasons rather than mid-summer. He assured the board that the 132 spaces behind the hotel would be ample. Additional parking would also be available at his motel across the street, noted a board member.
Others observed that the plan didn’t include a 10-foot setback after the fourth story as the village code requires. Kenny’s attorney Jon Lapper responded that the 21-foot total setback at the second and third stories would likely fulfill that requirement. Village code enforcement officer Doug Frost said the municipality would be seeking a legal opinion on this issue.
Although aesthetics prompted concerns, no objections were heard about the plans for four boutique-type stores fronting on Canada St., the elegant lobby with a bistro and a grand staircase leading up to the second-floor banquet facilities, nor the proposed first-story posh steakhouse.
Kenny noted that the hotel, with its conference facilities unmatched in Lake George would be extending the busy time of year, offering employment opportunities to 100 or more people as well as boosting retail activity.
Dow predicted her concerns could be resolved.
“I’m sure your architect has imagination and can produce something in line with our standards,” she said.
Lapper said the issues concerning aesthetics would be rworked out.
“Our job now is to go back and talk with our architect,” he said. “We’ll get it more diverse looking — This is a process. We’ll be responsive.”