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Proposed stream setback regulations spark controversy

LAKE GEORGE-Three Warren County town governments joined a rising tide of dissent this week, as they unanimously passed separate resolutions against new feeder stream setback regulations proposed by the Lake George Park Commission.

The town boards of Lake George, Warrensburg and Hague voted this week to officially oppose the proposed regulations -- alongside the Town of Bolton, which passed a similar resolution last week. Wednesday, the Warrensburg Town Board voted unanimously against the setback rules, following Hague's vote Tuesday and Lake George Town Board's "Nay" vote on Monday.

The regulations, however, are supported by a long list of

environmental groups as well as individual area residents, who say

they are vital in protecting the water quality of Lake George and

its associated waterways.

If enacted, clearing of vegetation would be forbidden on property

that is 50 feet from the high-water mark of any stream which feeds

into Lake George. Further, very limited vegetation clearing would be

allowed within an additional 50 feet from the streams.

"These regulations would greatly devalue private property in town,"

Councilman Scott Wood said Monday. "Over 2,200 parcels or roughly 22

percent of the private property in Lake George would be negatively

affected."

The Park Commission has proposed the new regulations in order to

preserve the lake's water quality - which has been compromised,

Commission officials said, by a boom of hillside construction

projects in recent years. According to the Commission, phosphorus

levels are on the rise resulting in algae blooms which devastate

aquatic life by reducing oxygen levels.

In their resolution, the Lake George Town Board argued that the Park

Commission has no concrete scientific data to justify the assertion

that increased algae blooms are a direct result of development

adjacent to feeder streams. Further, the town board argued that the

Commission did not consult with the communities that would be

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