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Allowing tall buildings prompts debate at Lake George zoning forum

Lake George John Herzog, former president of the local seniors' club, talks at a Lake George Village zoning forum March 25 about how changes in the existing ordinances are likely to boost local prosperity. In addition to stringent architectural guidelines for new buildings and renovations, the proposed zoning changes would allow buildings on some parcels downtown up to 72 feet high, rather than the existing 3-story limit

Lake George John Herzog, former president of the local seniors' club, talks at a Lake George Village zoning forum March 25 about how changes in the existing ordinances are likely to boost local prosperity. In addition to stringent architectural guidelines for new buildings and renovations, the proposed zoning changes would allow buildings on some parcels downtown up to 72 feet high, rather than the existing 3-story limit Photo by Thom Randall.

— Local resident Barbara Neubauer and Jan Loonan asked why the particular properties were chosen by the board for six stories and others weren’t. Loonan asked why the property selection didn’t match earlier plans drafted by the zoning steering committee, and Neubauer asked how the Lake George Steamboat property on Beach Road and the Fort William Henry property were added since the last public meeting.

“What would preclude anyone else from being added at this point?” she asked

Blais responded that the owners of the two enterprises, Bill Dow and Bob Flacke respectively, had called him recently and asked for the liberalized six-story height.

He continued that the Adirondack Park Agency will still be reviewing every project over three stories maximum anyway.

Susan Millington, owner of a small office next to Giuseppe’s said the public should be shown architectural renderings of the building. Blais responded that it would be a waste of a developer’s money to draft such plans before the zoning changes were in place.

“I want to make sure the plans for the hotel go before the appropriate boards so everyone remains in the process,” she said.

Blais assured her that there would be no short-cuts.

“The planning board has a lot of expertise and I have a lot of confidence in them,” he said.

Millington and Robert Rastelli, owner of the Pancake House, also asked why only five particular parcels were selected for the six-story maximum — and his plot was bypassed. Blais responded that the chosen lots were the only ones where six-story buildings wouldn’t substantially obstruct views — and had adequate parking as well.

Buildings of up to six floors or a maximum of 72 feet high to be permitted from Mountain Drive south to McGillis Avenue on the west side of Canada St. as well as the two aforementioned properties. All other areas on the west side of Canada Street are to have height restrictions raised to 45 feet or four stories from the present three — throughout the commercial resort and commercial mixed-use zones.

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