Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bolton Quick Launch’s Proposed Height Raises Concerns

Bolton Landing Marina from Bolton Bay with Architect rendering of marina with 20 foot height expansionA proposal by the owner of the Bolton Landing Marina to increase the quick launch facility’s height by twenty feet is drawing the scrutiny of Bolton’s Zoning and Planning Boards, both of which will have to approve the expansion before it can be sent to the Adirondack Park Agency for its review.

“No one, to my knowledge, has ever sought a variance to exceed Bolton’s 35-foot height limit,” said Henry Caldwell, a member of the Planning Board.

“The proposed height is our biggest concern; the enormous size of the building generated flack even when it was first built,” said Planning Board chairman Herb Koster.

Marina owner Frank Parillo and his representatives appeared before the Zoning and Planning Boards in December to discuss the project, which remains under review.

While the 20-foot  addition would raise the building 55 feet above the lake shore, its footprint would remain unchanged, attorney Robert Sweeney told the boards.

(The Lake George Mirror reported, erroneously, that the owner of the Bolton Landing Marina was also seeking a variance to extend the building 280 feet from the shore. That variance was granted when the facility was originally built. Under current zoning regulations, however, the applicants are required to re-apply for their existing 160-foot variance.)

The additional space would would permit the facility to store and launch 56 more boats. As of now, the facility can accommodate 171 boats.

Even if the marina is able to house and  launch a greater number of boats, congestion in Bolton Bay would not increase, the marina’s representatives said.

No more than 100 boats from the facility would be on the lake at any one time, a condition of the marina’s current Lake George Park Commission permit, a condition that would not change with the addition of  56 more boats, said Sweeney.

“There’s usually no more than 30% of the boats out on the lake at any one time,” said Mark Tabor of the LA Group, a consultant for the project.

According to Dan Behan, a spokesman for Bolton Landing Marina, the expansion has been proposed in order to satisfy a local demand for dock space.

“We’re at 100% capacity, and we’re always fielding calls from homeowners with boats looking for access to the lake,” said Behan.

“In the last year, it seems, we’ve received an even greater number of inquiries, mostly from people who have bought or who have built homes in Bolton Landing,” he continued.

Behan said “we knew the height of the building would be an issue; that’s why owner Frank Parillo went to the expense of hiring a designer to mitigate the visual impacts of the building. We want to be good neighbors.”

The presentation before the Zoning Board of Appeals was for informational purposes only, Behan said. That board took no action.

The Planning Board voted to declare itself  lead agency and to request additional information about storm water management, visual impacts and accessibility to fire fighting equipment before taking further action.

Photos: Above, Bolton Landing Marina from Bolton Bay; and below, an architect’s rendering of the marina with 20-foot height expansion.

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Anthony F. Hall is the editor and publisher of the Lake George Mirror.

Anthony grew up in Warrensburg and after an education that included studying with beat poet Gregory Corso on an island in the Aegean, crewing a schooner in Hawaii, traveling through Greece and Turkey studying Byzantine art and archeology, and a stint at Lehman Brothers, he returned to the Adirondacks and took a job with legendary state senator Ron Stafford.

In 1998, Anthony and his wife Lisa acquired the Lake George Mirror, once part of a chain of weekly newspapers owned by his father Rob Hall.

Established in the 1880s, the Mirror is America’s oldest resort newspaper.

2 Responses

  1. M.P.Heller says:

    The current building is already an eyesore when viewed from the water in Bolton Bay. A 55 foot structure in this location would be completely out of character with the standards adopted for commercial development in the Lake George Basin. We are not talking about a 6 floor off lake hotel project here, we are talking about shoreline development. Completely inappropriate.

    The folks complaining about the lack of a place to store their boat need to do what everyone else is doing who find themselves looking for dock space. Buy the Post Star and look in the classifieds for dock spaces for rent and/or start calling marinas. Purchasing a home and later discovering that there are no storage spaces or docks available for a boat is an error of the home buyer. The public and community should not have to suffer a warehouse for small boats on the waterfront in order to accommodate the minority who failed to do their homework.

  2. tjboyle, landscape architect says:

    This is grossly out of character with lakefront properties where the building height of 35 feet is typical of a residential scale, Note the two story residence adjacent.The massing and lack of architectural detail only makes the building more egregious . Variances to zoning bylaws require proof of hardship which in this case should be hard to overcome. I am surprised that the LA group was mentioned as a consultant to the project.

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