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Surfside’s six stories slammed

Lake George Village Zoning Board of Appeals members (left to right) Ron Mogren, Tom Sullivan and Mike Ravali listen to hotel owner Salim Amersi present a proposal Oct. 2 to demolish the main three-story building at his Surfside on the Lake resort and replace it with a six-story structure that includes 60 rooms atop a two-story parking garage.

Lake George Village Zoning Board of Appeals members (left to right) Ron Mogren, Tom Sullivan and Mike Ravali listen to hotel owner Salim Amersi present a proposal Oct. 2 to demolish the main three-story building at his Surfside on the Lake resort and replace it with a six-story structure that includes 60 rooms atop a two-story parking garage. Photo by Thom Randall.

— The idea of replacing the main building at Surfside Hotel with a six-story structure received an icy reception Wednesday from the Lake George Village Zoning Board of Appeals — and prompted criticism from the public.

Salim Amersi, owner of Surfside on the Lake resort, is seeking a variance of village zoning code to build a 72-feet-tall structure in a zone that now allows up to three stories, 40 feet high maximum. The bottom two stories — one of them halfway underground — would serve as a parking garage.

Amersi and his architect Dan Neary of Saratoga Springs showed the board designs for the proposed development. The top four stories of the structure would contain 60 hotel rooms. The existing building houses 50 rooms.

Lake George resident Pam Parrott told the Zoning Board of appeals that a six-story building was a radical change — that not even downtown Glens Falls had six-story buildings.

She said that the dozens of people who opposed the recent zoning changes now allowing six stories in certain plots in the village — primarily on the west side of Canada St. — had been assured by village officials that the east side of the street was off-limits for buildings that tall, primarily to preserve views.

“We made a deal,” Parrott said. “We’re fighting for the soul and character of Lake George.”

Residents wary that variance sets a precedent

Local resident Barbara Neubauer told the zoning board that approving Amersi’s request would set an unwanted precedent for such large buildings to be built on the lake side of the street.

But Amersi said that no lake views now existed from sidewalks along Canada street near his site.

He said that it was his aim to replace aging, outdated motel units built in the 1950s, with rooms that contain the amenities that today’s travelers demand. He noted that the rooms he seeks to replace are 12 feet by 20 feet, and can only barely accommodate two double beds, and not queen-size beds.

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