Monday, January 2, 2017

Saranac Lake Resort Project Comments Sought

The Adirondack Park Agency will hold a public information meeting on January 6, 2017 at the Harrietstown Town Hall in the Village of Saranac Lake.

Project sponsors for the proposed Saranac Lake Resort project along, with their consultants, will provide an overview of their proposal. The meeting will begin at 10 am. Following the presentation, the public will be allowed to comment on the proposal. Public comment will be limited to three minutes.

The Saranac Lake Resort project is proposed to be built on Lake Flower in the Village of Saranac Lake, Franklin County along Lake Flower Avenue and NYS Route 86. The proposal involves replacement of three existing hotel structures and the redevelopment of the site with a new 93 room four story hotel. The new structure will be approximately 29,000 square feet in footprint (37,000± square feet in footprint including roof overhangs and balconies) with an overall total of approximately 90,000 square feet of floor space.

The proposed hotel would include: restaurants; bar; conference/meeting facilities; indoor/outdoor spa; and an open grassy area/dock area, a portion of which will be semi-public. The height of the proposed hotel will measure approximately 55 feet at its third floor ridgeline and approximately 66 feet at its fourth floor ridgeline, with the highest points of the structure (top of the proposed Turret) measuring approximately 69 feet.

As a structure taller than 40 feet in height, the proposed hotel requires an Agency permit as a Class A Regional Project pursuant to 810(1)(a)(4) of the Adirondack Park Agency Act. A portion of the proposed project is located within 50 feet of the mean high water mark of Lake Flower and requires a variance from the shoreline setback restrictions in § 806 of the Adirondack Park Agency Act.

A public hearing regarding the requested shoreline variance will commence after the conclusion of the public informational meeting, at 1 pm.

The public comment period for written comments on Project 2016-0050 and the associated variance will remain open until Thursday, January 12, 2017.

Address all comments to:
Project 2016-0050
Tracy Darrah
Adirondack Park Agency
P.O. Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977

The mission of the Adirondack Park Agency is to protect the public and private resources of the Adirondack Park through the exercise of the powers and duties of the Agency as provided by law.

Photo: An architect illustration of the view of the resort project from the traditional location of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace (provided by Lake Flower Lodging LLC).

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17 Responses

  1. As I understand the plan, the parking would be across the road from the hotel (current motel parking is on the same side as the motels). Aside from the proposed building being way out of scale with any other waterfront structure in Saranac Lake, the road in that area is already somewhat of a traffic bottleneck. Having that many guests wandering back and forth across the road to reach their cars is an accident waiting to happen, a very bad idea.

    • Harry says:

      @James Bullard…I agree wholeheartedly. It is the wrong project for that spot, it is totally out of character for the town, too big, traffic in that area on “GOOD” days is already a mess with the three way stop, traffic coming from and going to Ray Brook, The McDonald’s. the shopping center, the Best Western. Cant they just leave this area along???

      • Paul says:

        What other commercial lake front in SL do you suggest they use for such a project? There isn’t any. Tear down three old ugly motels and replace them with a nice new hotel – it’s a no brainer. Traffic and business.. Growing pains. All good for the town.

  2. Paul says:

    “the proposed building being way out of scale with any other waterfront structure in Saranac Lake”

    Not true. There is a 6 or 7 story (maybe taller) building on the shore of lake flower right across from Riverside Park.

    As far as parking goes parking across the street from a hotel is just about as common as hotels. If you are afraid that you might get hit by a car you can always use the valet as most people will do anyway.

    • terry says:

      Hotel parking across the street from the hotel is common?
      That’s just silly

      • Paul says:

        Many many hotels do not have their own parking garages. The valet takes the cars over to a paid garage or guests have to do the same. Stayed at one in Boston just the other day and one in Rockville MD last week. This is a hotel not a motel from 1950 like the 3 it is replacing.

        • Dave says:

          You are comparing a tourist hotel on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake to hotels in major cities where local parking is a logistical impossibility so they resort to valet services.

          It is a silly comparison.

          • Paul says:

            The developer wouldn’t do it if it wouldn’t work. This isn’t new for them. Building a parking garage under this hotel is a “logistical impossibility” so they are resorting to other ways to make it work.

  3. Paul says:

    If the APA act aims to consolidate development in hamlet areas it should not require a special permit for a building of this height. If you want to consolidate development in limited square footage you gotta go up (or down and I wouldn’t do that on this site!).

    • Boreas says:

      I think the issue in this case is the height of a building on the waterfront. Perhaps it would be more acceptable if situated elsewhere in the village. Waterfront development is often contentious.

      • Paul says:

        This is not a water front specific rule. This is commercially zoned real estate – this rule is silly. There is not much commercial lake front in town. The village should be able to easily utilize it for maximum economic benefit. This isn’t waterfront out in the boonies.

        • Boreas says:

          I don’t think it is silly. What if the proposal was 30 story skyscraper with a small footprint? The APA should have no say? Rules are there for a reason – but they aren’t locked in stone – just like any zoning ordinances. In hamlets the APA encourages clustering, not high-rises – but clustering on waterfront has its own problems.

          I don’t have a dog in the fight, nor do I really mind the proposed design. But that doesn’t mean we should disregard the SLMP on sensitive properties within hamlets. I have wetlands on my tiny property, but I don’t feel the APA/DEC restrictions on my land are particularly onerous – especially since I knew the restrictions when I bought it. Once the proper studies and comments have been reviewed, it is entirely possible to see a reasonable decision from the APA.

          • Paul says:

            I totally agree that some of these rules are of course necessary. But in the case of development like this on commercial property within a village like Saranac Lake the town zoning board should have full authority. Why can’t we just let them decide what they think is best for their town?

            • Boreas says:

              I guess because – for better or worse – their town is within the Blue Line. I suspect the APA will eventually go along with the proposal. Money is involved after all, and money still carries quite a voice. Case in point – the ACR in TL – finally APA approved, but apparently poorly funded after legal fees.

              • Paul says:

                As I am sure you know there are already several buildings on Lake Flower that are well over 40 feet in height in that part of town. What would be the reason for not allowing it? Or are you just saying that they should try and stop any type of development for no reason? Why would you not want them to approve the project?

  4. Mike says:

    Aesthetic and traffic pattern concerns that do need to be addressed aside, I agree that offering parking across a busy road from the hotel is a poorly conceived idea.
    Suggesting paid valet parking as a solution, because it works in metro areas, is foolish. People in cities, like Boston, accept inconvenient and expensive parking as part of their city environment. If they come to the Adirondacks, it’s to get away from that aspect of their life.

  5. Mike says:

    Aesthetic and traffic pattern concerns that do need to be addressed aside, I agree that offering parking across a busy road from the hotel is a poorly conceived idea.
    Suggesting paid valet parking as a solution, because it works in metro areas, is foolish. People in cities, like Boston, accept inconvenient and expensive parking as part of their city environment. If they come to the Adirondacks, it’s to get away from that aspect of their life.
    Perhaps a sky bridge from the hotel to the parking lot would be a more workable solution, but good luck getting APA approval for that.

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