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Lake George leaders approve allowing 6-story buildings, design mandates

At a hearing July 22 in Lake George on zoning changes, Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky reads a statement asking the village board to hold off on allowing buildings up to six stories tall until sewer plant upgrades are completed. The board approved the zoning change unanimously, after most of those speaking out at the hearing expressing support of the changes.

At a hearing July 22 in Lake George on zoning changes, Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky reads a statement asking the village board to hold off on allowing buildings up to six stories tall until sewer plant upgrades are completed. The board approved the zoning change unanimously, after most of those speaking out at the hearing expressing support of the changes. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Changes to local zoning laws that allow buildings along particular stretches of Canada St. to be as tall as 70 feet high — and set strict design standards for new commercial buildings —was unanimously approved Monday July 22 by the village board.

The changes were approved by the board following a public hearing during which only a few of the dozen or so speakers expressed reservations on the proposal, and the rest voiced solid support. The prevailing positivism over the zoning changes was in sharp contrast to earlier public meetings on the issue.

The approval of the zoning changes sets the stage for a six-story Marriott hotel & conference center to be built on the northern end of Canada St. by local developer Dave Kenny, pending approval by the village Planning Board and the Adirondack Park Agency.

 “This will generate a tremendous value to the village,” Mayor Blais said of the revisions to the zoning laws, which presently allow buildings of three stories. “The changes this will bring to Lake George are enormous, high quality, and something we can live with for years to come.”

Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky had asked the board to postpone such changes until “low-impact” development standards were in place and planned upgrades at the village sewer treatment plant were completed. These upgrades are intended to reduce the pollutants in the plant’s effluent and boost the plant’s capacity. Responding to the plea to hold off the changes from both Navitsky and local resident Michey Onofrietto, Blais responded that a $3.2 million sewer plant improvement project was underway, and ongoing efforts to curb inflows of groundwater into sewer mains meant that more and more sewer plant capacity was being freed up for new development.

Both Blais and Lake George Forum owner Ralph Macchio said that the commercial development spurred by the zoning changes would help fund the upgrades to the sewer plant, as well as other public infrastructure.

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