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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.

— But Parrott warned the board that approving the plans would prompt a “domino effect” in development. She said she’d heard various contractors talk about several emerging plans for motels to rebuild with taller structures.

“This is our hometown and don’t forget it,” she said.

Matt Sahler, a recent graduate of Lake George High School, said he didn’t want Lake George Village to transform into Myrtle Beach, which hosts dozens of buildings six stories and taller, and over the years has lost its residential neighborhoods to development. He said that allowing such an extensive height variance would cause development to “snowball” out of control.

“This is so close to the lake, which is our heart and soul,” he said.

Amersi: Upgrades to enhance village

But Amersi said the building was planned to be its proposed size to accommodate sufficient parking, under the existing law, for the 60 units. Zoning amendments enacted since the Surfside was built call for more parking and larger spaces than in the past.

He said that the proposed 10 rooms beyond the existing 50 were to assure the project would eventually pay for itself, citing an estimated project cost of $7 million to $9 million.

Amersi continued that Surfside needed upgraded rooms to continue to be competitive and financially viable, particularly considering that a new Marriott Courtyard hotel was likely to be built across the street, and other major hotel chains are also seeking to build.

He said that if his hotel expansion proposal was evaluated based on investment return alone, he would be wise to invest his money elsewhere.

“I’m planning to invest in Surfside because I have a passion for my business, and to make sure my guests are content,” he said.

Gavin: Plan was to restrict tall buildings

Local activist Joanne Gavin offered her thoughts.

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