LAKE GEORGE -- The public will get a chance Monday night to weigh in on a series of proposed changes in the village, which range from allowing taller buildings to creating a business improvement district, and are all aimed at boosting the local economy.
A public informational meeting on the proposed changes is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the Lake George Firehouse.
Lake George Village Mayor Robert Blais said he isn’t entirely sure what to expect at the meeting.
“You never know, I haven’t heard an awful lot,” Blais said. “There may be some (comments) on the height, maybe.”
Village officials met Thursday with Adirondack Park Agency staff, to get feedback on the proposed changes before going any farther with the zoning plan, which requires APA approval, Blais said.
The APA staff members village officials met with didn’t raise any major red flags with the proposed changes, Blais said.
“They can’t guarantee their board will approve everything, but they didn’t see any major problems with what we’re proposing,” Blais said of the meeting.
After Monday’s informational meeting, the Village Board will consider the public input, and will send the proposed changes to the APA for consideration. The Village Board would then be able to adopt the changes.
If that plan is approved, each individual project that exceeds the 40-foot cap would still require an APA permit. The agency has in the past approved several projects in Lake Placid that exceed that height, done “in a careful way,” to preserve the view shed within the park, APA spokesman Keith McKeever said.
“Under 40 feet, structures and development are able to blend into the landscape,” McKeever said. “Above 40 feet, there’s potential for structures to become more obtrusive, more visible.”
Village officials for months have been crafting the new zoning district in which taller buildings would be allowed. The village is facing a declining tax base, and at the same time, a major project has been proposed for Canada Street. Developer Dave Kenny has proposed a multimillion-dollar chain hotel for the west side of Canada Street, just south of the high school.
The current plan for the zoning district is to allow buildings of up to six floors or 70 feet high will from Mountain Drive south to McGillis Avenue on the west side of Canada Street, and at the Fort William Henry and Lake George Steamboat Co. properties. Four-story or 45-foot-tall buildings would be permitted through the rest of the west side of Canada Street throughout the commercial resort and commercial mixed-use zones in the village.
Village officials have been holding public meetings about the proposed zoning changes for six and a half months, and many people have spoken out about the proposed changes. But Monday’s meeting is really the first major opportunity for public input on the proposals.
A formal public hearing on the proposal would also need to be held before the Village Board takes action.
The implementation of a set of design standards has been drafted that would aim to “aesthetically improve” the commercial area of the village by calling for more green space, additional setbacks and improved architectural elements to new buildings and extensive renovations.
Other ideas include creating a business improvement district and a local development corporation in the village, and putting in place a business credit program for businesses who make a certain investment to improve their property. More details on those initiatives will be shared at Monday’s meeting.
Lisa Nagle of Elan Planning, Design and Landscape Architecture, the firm the village has been working with throughout the rezoning process, will present what the proposals for changes are currently, including specific design changes. The meeting will then be opened up for public comment, and Blais may ask the public for their suggestions, he said.
“I may ask for suggestions about how the village can move forward economically, rather than just hearing people talk about what they don’t like,” he said.