To the Editor:
I was a member of the Lake George Village Zoning Steering Committee, tasked with recommending zoning changes. I am now compelled to express my opinion on what happened during that process.
A committee of nine members was appointed by Mayor Blais and the Village Board. It included two Village Board members, three from the zoning board, two from the planning board, one from the Lake George town board, and one citizen. It didn’t take long before it was obvious that something was amiss!
Dave Kenny, the developer for a proposed six-story hotel was continually vocal at meetings and “selling” his proposed project. It was quite obvious that certain committee members were very supportive of the proposed project. I complained to the Mayor about this.
We received a letter from the Mayor stating that he had instructed the developer to stop addressing the committee.
The committee composition, especially concerning the two elected village Trustees, was questioned and Mayor Blais along with the committee members, received a memorandum on Dec 5, 2012 from Village Planning and Zoning Counsel Mark Schachner.
In part, this memo stated “While such attendance and/or participation is not unlawful, it is generally considered more appropriate for elected officials to not attend or participate in these types of meetings.” It also stated “…to the extent that a committee meeting includes discussion …of a particular application for a particular property, participation in this sort of discussion by Planning Board or ZBA members could create a troublesome ethical issue…”
The committee met on Dec. 11. In a stunning move, the chairman wrapped up the short meeting saying enough information had been gathered, he would write it up to present to the Board, and called an end to the committee.
It was always the intent of the committee to exclude properties on the lake side. Much has changed since then.
Dennis E. Barden, Lake George Village