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Lake George hotel project faces questions, requests

2014-01-16T22:00:00Z 2014-03-19T14:21:12Z Lake George hotel project faces questions, requestsJAMIE MUNKS -- jmunks@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
January 16, 2014 10:00 pm  • 

LAKE GEORGE -- Some village Planning Board members want more information before taking a vote on the proposed Canada Street Courtyard Marriott project.

At the conclusion of a more than three-hour meeting Wednesday night, the Planning Board sent developer Dave Kenny and his team away with a list of requests, including a “balloon test” to simulate the height of the proposed six-story hotel and conference center.

Lawyer Jon Lapper said the project’s backers came away from a series of Planning Board workshops in the fall with the feeling most of the board was content with the project. He said developers were responsive in making changes based on the feedback.

“That’s what I thought we had the workshops for,” he said.

Following the workshops, the project’s exterior design was changed significantly to meet desires voiced by board members. But concerns persist among some board members, about the view of the building from the back on Ottawa Street to specifics about how the roof will be used.

They also voiced concerns about the location of a patio that overlooks the nearby school’s play area and said they wanted something in writing from the Lake George Fire Department indicating how they’d service the tall building.

Board members Patricia Dow and Dan Wolfield both said they’d like more height simulations to be done, while the other three board members said they didn’t feel the need to conduct a balloon study to visualize the building’s height.

“I thought we were a lot further than where you’re stating,” Planning Board Chairman Robert Mastrantoni said to a fellow board member.

Developer Dave Kenny has proposed a six-story Courtyard Marriott hotel and conference center for the west side of Canada Street, located on the block between Amherst Street and Lake George High School.

The door for the 120-room hotel and conference center swung open this summer when the Village Board changed local code to allow buildings of up to six stories in some areas of the village, including Kenny’s property where the hotel would go. Previously, building heights were capped at three stories, which is still the case for other areas of the village, particularly lakefront properties.

“Is it big? Yeah, it’s big,” Planning Board member Dean Howland said of the proposed building. “But that’s what they approved with the zoning.”

Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky raised a few concerns about the project, including increased sewer flow to the Lake George Wastewater Treatment plant, which has been flagged in past years for higher nitrate levels than the state allows.

Navitsky also suggested changes in the parking lot to improve drainage, and putting some plants and landscaping atop the building’s roof — measures that could make it a “model project,” he said.

“We feel there should be consideration for a green roof,” Navitsky said. “Why not?”

Ethan Hall of the Rucinski Hall Architecture firm said some rooftop planting would be doable. The Planning Board also requested some type of buffer be put between a patio off the hotel’s pool on the north end of the building, which abuts the school’s property line.

The goal is to have the project completed in May or June of next year, Kenny said.

“If the process goes much longer, it will be into 2016,” Kenny said.

The Planning Board held a public hearing Wednesday night, and only a handful of people attended. The board left the public hearing open, and scheduled another meeting on the project for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10.

For the project to move forward, it needs the Planning Board to approve a special use permit and a site plan for the project, and the Adirondack Park Agency must also approve it, which is expected to take a few months.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(19) Comments

  1. Bingo
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    Bingo - January 22, 2014 1:26 pm
    I think it's time to bring back the distributism of Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton. That hotel looks awful, truly awful. I'm assuming we'll have to foot some of the bill? Nope. No way. This is a dumb idea.
  2. theMaven
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    theMaven - January 19, 2014 7:56 pm
    The original zoning in Lake George, was put there because people did not want to live in a village of big ugly crackerbox 6 story hotels.

    Hell, you want to live in tinsletown, plenty of gaudy, ugly villages to do that in.

    Do any of the dimwits, and not-so-dimwits shoving this thing down people's throats ever consider the many natives and transplants who are here BECAUSE of the laid back lifestyle?

    Look at the developements of late, butt ugly malls, striprips food courts, stupid convention centers, crikers, leave it be.

    There is something called quality of life to be considered.

    If you want to build ugly monstrosities for cruddy minimum wage jobs, just visit the Mall.
  3. mgdesigneer
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    mgdesigneer - January 19, 2014 7:22 pm
    I am sure that the public is not objecting to a Marriott brand chain hotel. The main problem lies in the dominant location combined with the unimaginative generic look and most importantly the sheer unbroken height of this thing. Most of us would welcome an attractive building in the center of town, in a style befitting this little Adirondack, historical, lakeside village, providing it was proportional and beautifully designed. This new structure is very important to the village as it will be a statement building setting a precedent for future construction. It should send a strong message that cheaply built architecture is no longer acceptable. I am thankful that the Planning Board is taking every measure to insure the final product is something we can all be proud of even if it takes years. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE PLANNING BOARDS! Bravo to those board members that are asking "questions and requests". Let's all show them our appreciation and support in any way we can.

  4. JSLG
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    JSLG - January 19, 2014 3:14 pm
    You're right! Get rid of the developers! Let's let the run down village just fall to shambles so tourists start going to another resort area that is more up-to-date. That way all the Lake George residents will be happy. Broke and jobless, but happy.
  5. JSLG
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    JSLG - January 19, 2014 3:11 pm
    I totally agree! The planning board wants business owners to spend money cleaning up their properties and the village in general, but as soon as someone tries to do anything, the board give's them the run-around. Make up your mind! This project is going to spur more renovations of other properties (which is a GOOD thing for the village). If the village board keeps giving everyone a hard time over building, the business people will just go elsewhere and we won't have a village anymore.
  6. save the Lake
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    save the Lake - January 19, 2014 10:08 am
    What I find disturbing about the comments in the papers are that if you not for the hotel, (as is, that location, that design, that height, exactly what Kenny wants), it must mean you love the tacky t-shirt shops and everything about the Village. It's the hotel or nothing. That is not the case at all. The new hotel will do well or fail, but it will have nothing to do with THAT location.

    The local business owners have done very little over the years to improve the Village. They are looking for SOMEONE ELSE to change it without spending their own money. Let me tell you, Kenny ain't that guy. This hotel will do little for the local businesses. The businesses and government officials are willing to destroy the Village for the few extra t-shirts or coffees they sell. There are much better locations for this large hotel if we really need one in the first place. Clean up the Village first.
  7. j q public
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    j q public - January 19, 2014 4:18 am
    Nice comments, but the powers that be really don't read these comments. Oh, well.
  8. summit99
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    summit99 - January 18, 2014 9:08 pm
    privatesector

    Do you really think that Kenny is building this so he can lose money? I don't think he got where he is by losing money on projects.
  9. privatesector
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    privatesector - January 18, 2014 5:28 pm
    First off, from what I hear Mr. Kenny has considered this a done deal from the word go...haha to all us residents. Again,how is THIS hotel to bring in year round business when others in the area have failed to do so? It is a very simple question. Why should we allow this too big structure to be built right next to our school? As to the "business traveler" statement, ask the owners of the Hampton, Wingate, Holiday Inn and Comfort Suites if they are turning away business travelers due to lack of available rooms. Bet the answer is a resounding "NO!" All of those hotels are open year round and have loyalty programs. I still feel Lake George would be better off with a smaller "boutique" type hotel, which many of the large chains offer. Unhappy with the landscape of the village now? Wait till you have an monstrous mostly vacant (off season) building sitting in your back yard. I, for one, chose to live here within the blue line to be protected from the greed of over-development.
  10. summit99
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    summit99 - January 18, 2014 4:44 pm
    Yup, lets leave LGV the way it is. Full of bars and tacky T-Shirt shops. Hows that working out? Hey, lets build some more tacky shops and bars instead of a new hotel. I have the solution. Lets double parking ticket fines. Thats sure to endear LGV to tourists and locals alike. But hey, it will help the LGV budget.

    If the builder makes money, so what. Isn't that the idea that you are in business for?

    Or better still, lets go with some of the extreme Adirondack Park groups and eliminate allowing people into the village. Will that make it enough "Adirondacky" for you?

    This town/village hasn't had an original or new idea in 50 years. There is no reason to spend time in LGV as a local or a tourist. Neither of us need more T-Shirts or nicknacks
  11. ss1173
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    ss1173 - January 18, 2014 11:39 am
    afterthought - A plac should be set up listing , for all to see , the officials involved . when people want to know who is responsible for this mess ,it will be clear !!
  12. ss1173
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    ss1173 - January 18, 2014 11:31 am
    I am having a difficult time believing that this monster in going to be allowed in the Village !
    greed- greed- greed !
    My first thought is to make sure all responsible not be reelected or appointed back in office !
    If the top 3 floors were knocked off Maybe !
    This is the start of a very bad precedent , that will never stop !
  13. logansrun
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    logansrun - January 18, 2014 9:42 am
    All of these people on the Planning Board should really stop nitpicking the plans and designs for this new hotel. Many of them own businesses in desperate need of upgrades or renovations yet they want to knock Mr. Kenny's plan for this hotel because it isn't "Lake George" enough.
    Mr. Kenny has gone through every step in this process and jumped every hurdle thrown at him by the APA, the village of Lake George, environmental groups, etc. if you keep holding up this project, he'll slap you with a lawsuit.
    I'll let all of you hermits in on a little secret, when people travel on business, they want to stay at chains because they want a place they know is consistent and to earn the travel points. So this hotel has the opportunity to be profitable 12 months a year. It's a shame the rest of the business owners in Lake George don't want to be open 6 months a year, let alone 12.
  14. Improveglensfallsoruwontgetelected
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    Improveglensfallsoruwontgetelected - January 18, 2014 9:38 am
    if you read between the lines basically what the problems that Lake George has with this and every other project is their own refusal to spend any money updating the infrastructure to accommodate any new structures..When the Governor gave his state of the state and discussed elimisting uneeded and wasteful governments this should put you at the top of the list...we are already 25 years behind the rest of the country ..time to remove from office anyone that insists on holding us back .....People are sick of having no jobs or economy here because a few want to have what they think is a perfect lil town....well I have news for you ...Lake George is a JOKE compared to any other resort area ..if you left here you might see that...Its a joke and a financial burden to us all in this condition..!!!
  15. theMaven
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    theMaven - January 17, 2014 7:07 pm
    I hear some cynics think he shrank the real outline of the hotel, because he thinks the zoners and planners and flotsam are too stupid to pick up on it.

    Other pundits insist that if he showed an honest outline, the local citizens would rebel and force the cessation of this Taj of hotels.

    Not so, you nabobs and naysayers.

    The hotel will really have 5 foot stories and 18 inch windows as shown in the architectural renderings.

    It will be a hotel for Munchkins, the first in the world, expected to draw unique visitors from around the world, 12 months a year.

    Brilliant!
  16. hammer54
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    hammer54 - January 17, 2014 2:10 pm
    It's too big, too tall, too ugly for Lake George. Why do you people insist it's important to grow this area. Keep the area small & worry about the local area residents FIRST. Get rid of ALL the developers and their grand, foolish ideas to grow the area, and ruin it, just to make oodles of money for themselves. People worry about the lake quality, stop the growth of the this area and focus on maintaining what we have now. More people require more resources & expenses. Maintaining what is here now is the best for the lake and the area residents. Restricting any growth to a very low, but sustainable level will make the area richer overall. Giving in to greedy developers will ruin this area for the local people. Lake George is popular, the demand will be there forever if area is kept small and quaint. If the current out of town business owners don't like it, leave, as they are just trying to get rich quick. This is a fun SUMMER area & never should be year round destination.
  17. mgdesigneer
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    mgdesigneer - January 17, 2014 12:55 pm
    Clearly a balloon test must be done since the Planning Board as well as the public needs to know exactly how massive this "box like" building is going to be. The computer generated photo given to the Planning Board and all the local papers does not accurately represent the height. The hotel image has been intentionally digitally compressed. Had it been done to scale the public would be even more disgusted than it already is. Sadly if this "thing" gets constructed as presently designed it will have the personality of a low cost 72 foot, 7 story trailer home. Earlier local newspaper quote from Mayor Blais.....“People do come in and they try to do it on the cheap for a number of reasons, and you can’t fault them for that,” Blais said. “I guess we used to let them do that. But if we’re going to change the image of Lake George aesthetically, we can’t let them do that anymore.” Fortunately Mayor Blais, SOME members on your Planning Board are on to this.
  18. Bob1234
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    Bob1234 - January 17, 2014 9:46 am
    Sure, it's "good enough" for many people. But it's still a rather unattractive, red-brown elephant of a building. Why can't it be better than this?
  19. justanotherNYer
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    justanotherNYer - January 17, 2014 7:10 am
    These board members should stand their ground no matter how long it takes! Once they give into something they may not want it will be too late. Rushing through the process so the developer doesn't go into 2016 is not their primary concern, it is to make sure the project is done correctly and to their liking. That's why they have planning boards so developers don't come in and do whatever they want to make a buck instead of having the residents and environmental concerns as primary importance.

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