Save Our Small is a web site inspired by a group of local citizens in Lake Placid New York who are passionately fighting to save the small town they love from overdevelopment .
All across America these same battles are being waged between local residents defending their small towns from unbridaled overdevelopment.

Mission Statement
Our mission is to share as much information as we can with other concerned citizens who are fighting their own battles to save their small towns. We invite you to join our growing network of grassroots organizations dedicated to preserving a way of life that is rapidly disappearing from the American landscape.
Rob Grant

What’s great about small town living?
The air is clean! There is no pollution. We feel safe! Our doors are locked infrequently. Our neighbors are honest and friendly. Only recently have we learned to remove car keys from unattended vehicles – not because of any great dangers, but to make us more cautious and safe when we are in more heavily populated areas.

There are very few strangers in our small community. Most people know each other, and even if you are not truly acquainted, faces smile with recognition and greetings are exchanged with warmth. Friendly inquiries are made when there has been an experience with pain – or joy. Anytime a neighbor is suffering from ill health or some loss, the community is there to help, to lighten the burden, and to express their loving concern. Shopping for groceries, gas or supplies are social events, as neighbors share their recent adventures, concerns, and talk about the weather.

When a need for variety presents itself, we can visit the city and appreciate its offerings for entertainment and major shopping.

It is difficult to describe the many influences that create our exceptional quality of life here in a small town. There is a spirit of community here that is lacking in urban areas. As an individual, you matter! There is trust. There is an appreciation for the beauty of the land that surrounds this community. There is respect for that land because it is our source of livelihood. There is respect for each other, for we depend on each other, and yet, we are fiercely individual. We are truly blessed.

Land Development Issues
The design of a community can reduce land, pavement, water and driving consumption. Poorly planned development threatens our environment, our health, and our quality of life in numerous ways.
All development projects should preserve quality of life for both existing and future residents. Whenever possible, a project should also be designed to enhance quality of life.
A good Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will achieve both goals by meeting the following three criteria:

All reasonable alternatives for achieving the project goals should be evaluated, including no-build.
All quality of life impacts, both positive and negative, resulting from each alternative must be identified.
Each alternative must be ranked objectively with respect to cumulative and individual quality of life impacts.
The research needed to fulfill these three criteria should be carried out in an open process where the public is provided with ample, independent background information and extensive opportunities to fully participate. Of course, the alternative should be that which has the most positive quality of life impact while coming closest to achieving the purposes of the project.

From the Save message board

Hi I am writing from California to commend you folks for fighting to preserve your property rights. We in Bloomington California are backed up against a wall. We are working to save our little town and are in the middle of a Incorporation effort. The powers against us are many with a large segment on boards and commissions we must go in front of. We are a non profit group that need to raise 109 thousand dollars by Feb 28th or our work will be for not, the county will set in redevelopment and our town soon will be a thing of the past. I was in hopes that in your battles you may of found some links to donors who believe in small towns and open spaces. If anyone there knows of such a person please give me a call 909 446 2679 thank you so much for your time and keep up the great work....

Save Saranac
Concerned citizens working to preserve the unique Adirondack character of Saranac Lake, NY.

Quality of Life Growth Management Land Use Planning
from the CEDS Community Environmental Defense Services website

Development should preserve quality of life for both existing and future residents. Wherever possible, a development project should also be designed to make existing quality of life better. Both goals can be achieved through Quality of Life Growth Management Land Use Planning (QLGM)
The best way to keep your community a great place to live is to incorporate Quality of Life Growth Management Land Use Planning into every aspect of the local growth management process. A QLGM plan serves as the cornerstone in preserving and enhancing quality of life through growth management.

The QLGM plan is developed through a process that maximizes participation by all community members and consists of the following steps:

Through mechanisms such as public opinion surveys, neighborhood meetings, focus groups, and so forth, identify the quality of life factors the community views as important.
Through these same mechanisms, develop a set of objective criteria for evaluating how a specific growth scenario will affect each quality of life factor the community finds important.
Again using mechanisms which maximize public involvement, identify realistic growth scenarios for the community.
Through an open process, rate how each growth scenario will affect each quality of life factor using the community's quality of life impact criteria.
After circulating the results of the ratings, employ a variety of mechanisms for maximizing community participation in selecting the most desirable growth scenario, a combination of scenarios, or drafting new scenarios if all those previously identified fail to provide the benefits desired by the community.
Once the community reaches consensus on the most desirable growth scenario, a QLGM plan is drafted. The plan sets forth:
the process used to select the community's desired growth scenario;
the benefits this scenario will provide; and
the changes to laws, government programs, and other mechanisms required to achieve the community's desired pattern of growth.
The draft QLGM plan is then circulated throughout the community for review.
The final draft of the QLGM is formally adopted by the local elected body.
As stated above, to ensure that future growth patterns match the desired scenario set forth in the QLGM plan, local laws which regulate how development occurs must be amended accordingly. These laws would include zoning and subdivision ordinances, development regulations, etc. It may also be necessary to change how tax dollars are spent which would involve amendments to the local budget, the capital improvement program, etc.
This QLGM planning process should be repeated every six- to ten-years or whenever conditions warrant reconsideration of the community's desired growth scenario, such as when a major rezoning proposal is made or an annexation request is received.
The above is from the CEDS Community Environmental Defense Services website. A very informative booklette
can be read or downloaded for free from this great website! click here

-Property and Environment Research Center is the nation's oldest and largest institute dedicated to original research that brings market principles to resolving environmental problems. Located in Bozeman, Montana, PERC pioneered the approach known as free market environmentalism.

Americans Are Saying No To Sprawl

By Carl Pope from the PERC website

On Election Day 1998, Americans from California to New Jersey voted to slow growth, save forests and farmlands, and rein in development. In an unmistakable signal of rising saliency and political power, growth and land-use measures appeared on more than 200 state and county ballots nationwide.

In New Jersey, voters approved a 10-year plan to raise $1 billion to preserve 1 million acres of open space.
In Ventura County, California, voters overwhelmingly supported an initiative to prevent local planners from rezoning farmland and open space without voter approval.
In Florida, voters decided to extend the Florida bond authority to protect public land from sprawl.

What do millions of Americans know that Randall Holcombe's defense of sprawl ignores? To begin with, Americans are reacting to the actual impact of sprawl on their lives, not to Holcombe's abstract economic argument that it could be good.

In fact, it turns out not to be good. Sprawl is a ubiquitous problem, and Americans-whether they live in urban Atlanta or rural Washtenaw County, Michigan -are deciding that current planning and development practices come with more costs than benefits. Development plans that may have worked fifty years ago are no longer the answer for today's growth.

There are the obvious environmental costs of sprawl-lost open space and natural habitats, increased air pollution from more traffic, depleted water quality caused by urban runoff. Holcombe's argument that "low densities" help the environment shows an abysmal shallowness. He seems to assume that if yards were not filled with trees and grass, there would be less vegetation in the metropolitan area. In reality, of course, sprawl neighborhoods typically replace farmland or open space that was 100 percent vegetation and permeable soils and replace them with neighborhoods that are 30 percent or more concrete, asphalt, or structure with unvegetated, impermeable surfaces.

The worst environmental impact of sprawl is the least avoidable. Sprawl, by definition, fragments landscapes-and fragmented landscapes are the biggest threat to America's wildlife heritage. Sprawl is very good for the most adaptable and common creatures-raccoons, deer, sparrows, starlings, sea gulls-all do well-and devastating for wildlife that is more dependent upon privacy, seclusion, and protection from such predators as dogs and cats.

There are obvious qualityof- life problems caused by sprawl-more time caught in traffic caused by auto-dependent lives, abandoned urban communities, remote and isolated suburban neighborhoods.

But sprawl has an economic cost, too. Tax policies contribute to the public's growing dissatisfaction with sprawl. American taxpayers are actually subsidizing the extent and pace of sprawl through local, state, and federal spending, which increases to fund new development. That means a choice between more taxes or less spending in other deserving areas.

Some advocates of sprawl argue, "Well, then just get rid of the subsidies." Holcombe blithely opines that "it is the responsibility of local governments to see that the costs of water, sewer, roads, and so forth are charged to development."

I wonder what planet he lives on. When localities try to charge developers even a fraction of the true costs, those developers and other sprawl advocates fight back fiercely. In California efforts to charge new developments the full costs of new water supplies, which are far greater than those of the more efficient reservoirs built first, have run into tremendous resistance. In Alabama and New York developers are trying to hold on to federally subsidized flood insurance on the ground that it is a "right." The reality is that if we really got rid of the subsidies to sprawl, we would also get rid of sprawl.

The sums involved in the subsidies are huge. In Fairfax County, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., the 1997 budget of $1.8 billion ran a deficit of $146 million. In nearby Prince William County, taxpayers spend $3,838 to provide services to a single household, but only receive $2,150. A report released last month by Rutgers University looked at the costs of sprawl to South Florida. Adding up the price tags on new land development, new roads, and new infrastructure, the report found that sprawl in South Florida alone is costing an astounding $6.15 billion.

Holcombe does not cite a single case in which the kind of low-density sprawl he defends occurred in the absence of massive public subsidies. He doesn't because he can't. There are no such examples.

It is not accidental that in the last era of metropolitan growth prior to the massive federal and state subsidies for highways, sewers, etc., the development pattern that emerged was of compact suburban developments with mixed use, light and heavy rail transit, and an almost total absence of leapfrog and strip development-America's streetcar suburbs from the 1900-1925 era.

Taken together, these factors are fueling local action and a national debate. Americans are demanding common-sense solutions and smarter growth.

Fortunately, there are at least three options that provide guidance for urban growth planners charged with preparing plans for future growth:

The first option is purchasing open space and farmland for preservation. Citizens in Peninsula Township in Northwest Michigan recently voted to pay farmers to keep farming rather than sell their land to developers for subdivision. Voters in Austin, Texas, supported an increase in water rates to raise money to protect thousands of acres of environmentally sensitive land around the city. Such purchase programs, ideally, could be financed from the windfall profits made by landowners who benefit from new publicly financed infrastructure -those around a new
The second option growth planners should utilize is marking and promoting urban growth boundaries (UGBs). Oregon and Washington states have blazed trails in this area by requiring all communities to design long-term UGBs. Portland, Oregon, has had an urban growth boundary in place since the 1970s. While Portland is one of the most popular cities in America and has witnessed significant population growth, its urban growth boundary has preserved open space around Portland and helped make Portland one of the world's most livable cities.
The third option planners should pursue is reinvestment in urban areas and revitalization of existing towns and cities. In 1997 Maryland enhanced its existing planning requirements with Smart Growth legislation, which promotes state funding to priority growth areas such as existing municipalities and enterprise zones.

Taken together, these three options for controlling growth will help alleviate the costs and consequences of new development.

Holcombe argues that "left to its own devices, development will occur in a decentralized manner, which will usually lead different types of activity to be conveniently located in relation to one another." This fascinating argument overlooks hundreds of years of urban history in which development, left to its own devices, prior to the era of either zoning or governmental subsidies, followed anything but a decentralized pattern.

Indeed, the classic original argument for both regulation and subsidy in urban landscapes was that, left to its own devices, development was too centralized and intense for human welfare. Freeways, zoning laws, and urban renewal were all developed to overcome the "natural" tendency of development to concentrate and cluster.

If there is any one constant in our history, it is our nation's ability to learn from our mistakes, to change with the times, to try something "new and improved." We have come to a new day in national growth policy. The economic and social benefits of urban renewal far outweigh the national drain accompanying sprawl. Americans everywhere are promoting a new approach to community planning, and the time has come for the planners to catch up with the public.

CASE STUDY: Austin Texas

Buildings are required to be set back 200 feet from Town Lake in
the South Shore Central area of Austin, Texas. CWS Capital Partners is requesting a variance in order to build 80 feet from the water. The case goes before the Parks Board in December 2006and the Planning Commission will make a final
decision early next year.

Town Lake is literally, by geography, and figuratively, by ambience, the heart of Austin. This corridor is flanked by downtown, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, the Palmer Events Center and by some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods – Bouldin, Barton Hills, Old West Austin, Travis Heights, Rainey Street. The new Austin City Hall overlooks the lake. Office buildings, hotels, restaurants, apartments and condominiums join open space in cradling the lake.

The Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail is the thread that sews the lake to its surrounding neighborhoods. The trail is recognized by national runner magazines as one of the finest recreational running facilities in the nation. What makes it special? There is room to breathe and lots of nature to experience right in the heart of the city. Runners, walkers, strollers, bicyclists, meditators, picnickers, dogs and their owners all have a sense of freedom from urban chaos because of the openness of the lake area. This openness is created because the current buildings are set appropriately back from the shore.

Contrast two comparable-use structures along the lake – the Hyatt and the Four Seasons. One crowds the shoreline, the other keeps a respectful distance. To any lake or trail user, the difference is stark. The space in front of the Four Seasons allows room to stop, to watch, to sit, or as one visitor put it, ‘to saunter, like y’all do down here.’ The dark alleyway in front of the Hyatt forces users to hurry through the corridor and to feel like intruders. Intruders on a PUBLIC lake???

This web site is here because of a redevelopment proposal for the property at 222-300 E. Riverside, the third in the last year along Town Lake. The project is the next in a line of 20+ properties to be redeveloped in the Town Lake area. The developer wants approvals from the city’s Parks Board and Planning Commission to create another Hyatt-type alleyway… to go against the decades-old consensus for the lake. The developer, CWS Capital Partners, wants to hurry people along, rather than allowing them room to saunter or sit a spell. The combined primary and secondary setback requirements for this area of the Waterfront Overlay District are 200 feet. Limited and very specific development is allowed in each of the setbacks, but the primary development must be setback the full 200 feet from the lake edge. This measurement was established with the l985 Waterfront Overlay Ordinance as a result of the Hyatt’s choice to crowd the shore. CWS Capital Partners are requesting a variance from this 200 feet. They would like to erect their 20 story condos only 80 feet from the shoreline.

We are concerned that by giving this developer such a concession, it not only creates another private-atmosphere tunnel along the lake, but sets a MAJOR precedent for the dozens of projects that are being planned on the shores of our beautiful, public lake.

Please contact the Parks Board, Parks Staff, City Planning Commission and the Austin City Council. Let them know that you are concerned. You want Town Lake to remain a special, accessible, public place.
click here to read more

CASE STUDY: Lake Placid NY
www.Save Lake

The Proposed Lake Placid Hilton Redevelopment Plan

The Lake Placid Hilton has proposed a five story condominium project on the site of the Hilton-owned Lake View Motel on Saranac Avenue and Mirror Lake Drive in downtown Lake Placid. This project calls for a 46-unit condominium complex on the site of their existing Lake View Motel on Mirror Lake Drive.

Request for four substantial variances
The project must receive four different variances from the Adirondack Park Agency and local Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals.
1)The first variance request is to allow for more parking spaces than are currently allowed in the C-1 zoning district.
2)The second variance is for a conditional use variance because the building would be closer than 100 feet to a residential district.
3)The third variance is a request to construct the building 19 feet and 10 inches higher than the 30 feet maximum height currently allowed.
4)The fourth variance is for a significant setback in the front yard of the building.

A public hearing on the Proposed Hilton Redevelopment Project
is scheduled for
December 18th, 7 pm, Town Hall - Lake Placid

We invite you to read and sign our petitions, either opposing or supporting this project. These petitions will be presented to the Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals.
click here for petition opposing the project
December 2006
Lake Placid Community Petition

Re: Hilton Redevelopment Project:

To: The Lake Placid Zoning Board Of Appeals
(Public Hearing scheduled for Dec. 18th, 7pm Town Hall)

I am signing this document to express my concern about the Hilton Redevelopment Project currently before this board. I feel that the variances that the developers are requesting are excessive and extraordinary in nature and that, if granted, will result in a profound and extremely undesirable change in the unique character of our community and the Village of Lake Placid.

The residential setback variances being requested will extend this commercial project deep into the heart of one of the oldest and most beautiful residential neighborhoods in Lake Placid destroying the remarkable character of historic Signal Hill.

The extraordinary height variances being requested exceed the maximum allowable code by an additional 19' & 10" and do not include the architectural towers rising above the roof line which will add an additional 8' to 10' in height. Such a profound height variance will alter the Lake Placid skyline as seen from every angle around Mirror Lake and will virtually obliterate the precious View Shed of Mirror Lake and the Adirondack mountains from Signal Hill and the surrounding village.

Additionally, the significant storm water runoff created by the required parking lots and expansive roof line will channel directly down hill and into our Mirror Lake Watershed depositing chemicals and toxins into this fragile body of water.

Ultimately, the sheer size and scope of the proposed Hilton Condo Hotel project threatens to undermine the very character of our unique village and exchange a feeling of small-town Adirondack life for one of large-scale resort development.

click here to sign petition

click here to print out a large petition for your neighborhood

click here for petition supporting the project
December 2006
Lake Placid Community Petition

Re: Hilton Redevelopment Project:

To: The Lake Placid Zoning Board Of Appeals
(Public Hearing scheduled for Dec. 18th, 7pm Town Hall)

I am signing this document to express my support for the Hilton Redevelopment Project currently before this board. I feel that this project will benefit our community and the Village of Lake Placid.

click here to sign petition

You may print these petitions and mail to:
Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals
c/o Kenneth C. Jubin
PO Box 808
Lake Placid NY 12946

Letter from:
Prof. Clinton J. Andrews AICP PhD

Director of Urban Planning Program, Rutgers University
(for identification purposes only)

December 3, 2006
Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals
Lake Placid, NY 12946
Subject: Hilton Redevelopment Project

Dear Board Members:

The four variances sought for the proposed project seem unwise and should not be granted. I argue from basic principles of good land use planning that additional parking, inadequate setback from a residential neighborhood, excessive building height, and excessive front setback will all harm the public interest. Of these, the most important consideration is adjacency to a residential neighborhood.

The fundamental rationales for zoning are to separate incompatible land uses, improve public health and quality of life, and maintain stable property values.

click here to read entire letter

On November 30th, the first meeting of concerned Lake Placid Citizens was held to discuss the proposed Hilton ReDevelopment Project.

This group was hosted by the Grant's and included many leading community members who have have been active in Lake Placid zoning and development issues for many years.
Among those attending this meeting & pictured below are Ruth Hart, Georgia Jones, Dr. & Lauri Bergamini, Wayne Johnston, Ray & Iris Havilcek, Ian Poole, Lisa Townson, Al Tuthill, Barry & Rosette Press, Dianne Reynolds, Terri & Debbi Kent, Jane Egan and many others. The meeting was chaired by Pat Grant and included a detailed review of the proposed Hilton Redevelopment Project and its impact on the Village of Lake Placid.

Photo gallery of Lake Placid community meeting to review the Hilton Redevelopment Project

Public Comment Message Board

A message board has been created for the public to update information and post comments and opinions on critical zoning issues in Lake Placid.

Feel free to join the discussion. All opinions are welcome!
Please- Click here to post your message.
To read what others have posted Click here

Email your opinions and comments to us.
If you would like to send a letter, comment or opinion directly to us please click on
the link below.


We are posting comments and opinions from concerned citizens as these come in to us.
Please read these posts below:

' The land use code, (which is a good one) states in it's opening mission statement "...purpose and intent of these Regulations is to promote the health, safety and the general welfare of the promote aesthetic values, and to encourage the most appropriate use of land throughout the Village of LP and Town of N. Elba Comprehensive Plan. Further, its purpose is to consider land use and order to preserve the character and quality of life enjoyed in the Community at present.... The overall goal of the Comprehensive Plan is to protect and enhance both the community and its natural surroundings. The comprehensive Plan recognizes that we are a dual-purpose community - that the needs of the residents and our visitors are equally important. '
Georgia Jones

"Progress is important to any town. However,when it changes the face of our town and the reasons why people live and visit here,then it has gone too far. A conservative updating of the Hilton Properties, in keeping with the town's character is called for, but not this massive approach or with the adverse affect on its residents that this project surely will have".
Barry Press

Letter from:
Prof. Clinton J. Andrews AICP PhD

Director of Urban Planning Program, Rutgers University
(for identification purposes only)

December 3, 2006
Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals
Lake Placid, NY 12946
Subject: Hilton Redevelopment Project

Dear Board Members:

The four variances sought for the proposed project seem unwise and should not be granted. I argue from basic principles of good land use planning that additional parking, inadequate setback from a residential neighborhood, excessive building height, and excessive front setback will all harm the public interest. Of these, the most important consideration is adjacency to a residential neighborhood.

The fundamental rationales for zoning are to separate incompatible land uses, improve public health and quality of life, and maintain stable property values.

In the downtown area, density is desirable but it must also be compatible with the character of the existing built environment. New buildings should not be dramatically taller or more massive than existing buildings. Hence, the height variance should not be granted.

The proposed project lies at the border between commercial and standard residentially zoned areas (on the proposed zoning map).

Good planning practice recommends that a proposed commercial or other intensively used property abutting a standard residential property blend in harmoniously with the adjacent pre-existing land use.

Part of the solution is to create a gradual transition so that the edge of the proposed project is compatible in terms of massing and building height with adjacent residential properties.

In addition, it will be important to separate the incompatible land uses using substantial setbacks and vegetation buffers. Hence, the variance allowing a less-than-100 foot setback from residential neighbors should not be granted.

To encourage a walkable downtown, parking belongs at the rear of downtown structures, providing a further rationale for a substantial setback from neighboring residential properties. The requested variance for additional parking spaces should not be granted because it will exacerbate the walkability problem.

The requested variance for a large front setback should not be granted because it detracts from the intimate, walkable, visually interesting downtown feeling of Lake Placid.

Finally, I note that views are a strong determinant of property values, hence preservation of neighbors’ views is a valid consideration for a Zoning Board of Appeals not to grant a variance.

I encourage the Zoning Board of Appeals to uphold principles of good planning practice in their decision on the proposed development.


Prof. Clinton J. Andrews AICP PhD

Terrace Avenue, Lake Placid NY 12946


"Hilton's design is huge. It is like five Walmarts stacked on top of each other, plus turrets, peaked roofs and towers. Also, it appears to be just the first step of an aggressive overall plan to build up their whole complex, making us look more like the Town of North Hilton. "
Terry Kent
Acting Executive Director
U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation
Lake Placid, NY 12946

"The purpose of the Lake Placid building code is to "preserve the character of the community" This project, as proposed, totally ignores this criteria."
Rozette Press

December 4, 2006
Letter to the Editor
Lake Placid News

Good News? Bad News? That really is the question you might want to ask
yourself about the proposed Hilton Redevelopment Project located on Mirror
Lake Drive. I know that for me, the answer is bad news. I've never paid
enough attention to area zoning laws (like most of us, I've been busy.)
But this project is different for me because it is being built in my front
yard. No one else will be as adversely affected as I am, but the reason
you may want to pay attention is because, as I have learned, what effects
me will probably at some time affect you if you own a home in Lake Placid.

The Hilton Redevelopment Project is proposing a 46 unit Condo/Hotel
directly in front of my home. This project will replace the Hilton motel
extension on Mirror Lake Drive. I live on Swiss Road, which is loosely
considered to be part of the "Signal Hill" neighborhood. If I'm having a
pizza or a bed delivered I just say I live right across the street from
Dr. Bergamini, and that usually works for me. This district is labeled
R-1A (Residential) in the land use codebook (This book is very, very thick
and lives in Jim Morganson's office on the 3rd floor of the town hall.)
The land use codebook made clear my current rights as a residential
property owner; what my restrictions were with regard to setbacks and
height restrictions for my home. It also spelled out for me the rights of
my commercial neighbor, The Hilton.

The Hilton's land use code is C-1 for commercial properties. Two of the
many C-1 restrictions are:
1. No building, parking or service area shall be closer than 100 feet to
a Residential District
2. The Maximum height for C-1 Zone is 30 feet.

The Hilton developers are seeking four variances from the current land use
code. Two of these concern the above listed restrictions. The Hilton has
asked to take back 67 feet of the 100-foot setback that protects me, the
residential neighbor, from them for a parking lot. This will make the
buffer 33 feet instead of 100 feet. So now there will be a parking lot 33
feet from my front yard. My house sits close to my property line so the
effect is that my house is now sitting in the parking lot of the new
Hilton Condo owners. The original intention of the land use code was to
protect me, the residential neighbor, from the noise, fumes, and lights
from commercial use. Is there any sane reason why the Hilton should be
granted this setback variance? Sixty-seven feet is an insane request, but
frankly, as I've paid my mortgage and taxes on this property for eighteen
years and worked in the community for as many, I don't see how I can be
reasonably expected to give up any of this setback to developers. Can you?

Pretty much the same argument goes for the height variance the developer
is requesting. They are looking for 19 feet ten inches plus 8 to 10 feet
for "turrets" which look to be penthouse elevators. This will give them
roughly 20 extra feet above the current code plus the 8-10 for something
else unclear in the drawings. When I look at the drawings for this
project, it appears that the building in front of my house will be 72 feet
tall. I will no longer have a view of the lake or the mountains, which I
have enjoyed and will have finally paid off (via my mortgage) in two

Isn't it ironic that as I'm just about to pay off my home, not only the
value of it will be taken away but also my personal enjoyment of it. And
here's the final bit of irony. if we don't get this project to conform to
the land use code of Lake Placid, someone, probably from Connecticut or
Northern New Jersey, will have been offered my land and view, by a
developer from Illinois who will receive somewhere between $500,000 to
$1,000,000 for each of the 46 units and neither the developer nor the second
home owner will ever live here.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the future of the year-round
resident is really what is at stake here.

If you live here, come to a public hearing for this project on December 18
at the Town Hall at 7PM. Maybe we can help each other understand this
project and our rights as residents of Lake Placid.
Pat Grant

by- Chris Knight WNBZ
AM 1240, FM Y106.3

The Lake Placid Hilton’s plan to build a five-story 46-unit condominium complex on the site of their existing Lake View Motel on Mirror Lake Drive is facing opposition from a neighboring hotel property.

“It’s going to be detrimental to our business,” said Brandi Barbee, general manager of the Lake Placid Summit Hotel, formerly the Ramada Inn, which is located directly behind and slightly above the project site.

Barbee says the Hilton’s condo complex would eliminate the view of Mirror Lake from their current restaurant, a new restaurant and one entire side of their three-story hotel. “It will completely block the views,” she said.

A public hearing on the Hilton project is scheduled for December 18 before the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Zoning Board of Appeals.

The condominium complex, which also includes an underground parking area, would need several variances from the ZBA before the project could be presented to the village and town review board.

One of the variances would allow for smaller off-street parking spaces than allowed in the property’s zoning district. Another would permit the building to be closer than 100 feet to a residential district. And the Hilton wants to construct the building 19 feet, 10 inches higher than the 40 feet allowed in the code.

Edward Garrigan of the Latham-based C.T. Male, the Hilton’s engineering firm, said the complex needs to be that size because of the upscale market their building for. The starting price for the condos is $500,000. “You need to have a certain amount of square footage to offer that product,” he said. “We need to have so many rooms at certain square feet in order to have a project to send out to potential buyers.”

And there are costs associated with moving a sewer line underneath the existing motel that need to be offset to make the project viable, Garrigan said.

He also said the architect has tried to make the building fit in with the area. “There’s other buildings on Main Street he’s incorporated into his design to make this part of the fabric of the community and not something that doesn’t fit the Adirondacks and Lake Placid,” he said.

But the Summit Hotel has hired a consultant and a photographer to try and show how their business would be negatively affected by the structure. Barbee said they tried to work with officials at the Hilton. “They’ve been very cordial,” she said. “But it would have significant impact on us.”

The neighbors have also hired a local attorney who’s trying to contact other property owners who will be impacted by the loss of their view.

Barbee says they planned to lease the new restaurant in the next three months, but those people have now backed out. She thinks it’s because of what the Hilton has proposed. “I do believe that’s the reason they decided to pull out of the project,” she said. “They were excited for a lake front view. We’ll probably end up operating it ourselves.”

Lake Placid View

Letter from:
Charles E. Walsh, Esquire

Charles E. Walsh
2359 Saranac Ave.
PO Box 391
Lake Placid, New York 12946
(518) 523-3304

Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals Members
If you would like to send a letter to the Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals
please send to :

Kenneth C. Jubin, Chairman ZBA
PO Box 808
Lake Placid, NY 12946

Members of the ZBA include the following:
Ms. Melissa Strack
Cornelia R. Bonsignore
Mr. Kenneth C. Jubin
Lorraine Von Dell
Mr. Charles W. Finley

Lake Placid / North Elba Joint Planning Commission

The Lake Placid / North Elba Joint Planning Commission has a website that serves as the primary resource and communications center for all information related to Joint Planning Commission projects.

The Project
In 1997, the Village of Lake Placid and Town of North Elba completed a Joint Comprehensive Plan which recommended the adoption of a Joint Lake Use Code to serve both municipalities. Undertaken largely by dedicated volunteers, the new Code was adopted in December 2000, which also created a Joint Planning Commission (JPC).
During the past few years, the Lake Placid/North Elba community has experienced increasing growth pressures stimulated by tourism, sports events, second home development and a steady migration of year-around residents. In 2004, the JPC undertook a weeklong intensive assessment of the community's growth management practices, led by the consulting firm of AKRF. The Growth Management Assessment consisted of seven workshops, concluding with a presentation of the firm's findings. The assessment outlined a “blueprint” of priorities for improving the community’s growth management practices, one of which was to update the Joint Land Use Code.

The Town and Village have contracted with "LandWorks," a planning and design firm based in Middlebury, Vermont to work with the community in preparing a "Smart Growth" Joint Land Use Code. There will be periodic public meetings or forums once the process is started to include the community during the revision. This website also provides a form for the public to submit input regarding the Code revision. Once a draft Code has been completed, it will be presented to the Town Board and Village Trustees. Subsequently, the draft will be presented at a public information meeting for review and comment.

Please click on the following links for more information:

Draft Code Sections (new 10-11-06)

Draft Code Sections-2 (new 10-18-06)

Click Here for Visual Survey

Visual Survey Results (new 10-11-06)

Please visit The Lake Placid / North Elba Joint Planning Commission website for more information

Save the Pine Bush Sues the Town of Clifton Park over Development Approval
Karner Blue Habitat Threatened

SCHENECTADY NY: On behalf of Save the Pine Bush and 11 individual petitioners, Peter Henner, Esq, filed an Article 78 against the Planning Board of the Town of Clifton Park. On August 8, the Town of Clifton Park approved a “flex-space” industrial warehouse complex on top of Karner Blue habitat. Save the Pine Bush has filed suit to stop the development by requiring a Supplemental Environmental Impact Study to be prepared, thus causing the Planning Board’s State Environmental Quality Review (SEQRA) “Negative Declaration” claiming this project has no significant adverse impact on the environment to be thrown out.
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Please visit Save Lake