QUEENSBURY — The town may further tighten regulations for the critical residential zone next to Lake George to keep the lake safe.
Residents came to the Town Board to ask for more governmental oversight after a home was built without needing to go through site plan review.
There are already some restrictions for those who live on Assembly Point Road, Lake Parkway and other locations on the shore of Lake George.
They can’t use lawn fertilizer within 50 feet of the lake and they can’t remove much of the vegetation near the shore. But they can build a house with only a building permit — no Planning Board review — unless they want to build within 50 feet of the shore or a slope.
The house in question, on Lake Parkway, was well outside those limits.
“There was nothing that triggered site plan,” said Code Compliance Officer Bruce Frank.
Neighbors appealed to the Town Board to change that.
“These boards are a secondary check,” resident Lisa Adamson said. “We are in a critical environmental area.”
And it could be educational for new owners, said resident Lorraine Ruffing.
“People don’t know all the rules,” Ruffing said. “They know what they want to do, and unfortunately they act before they are informed. And unfortunately, landscaping companies are all too willing.”
Both residents are convinced that several trees were cut down near the lake, with Ruffing describing the lot as “virtually denuded.”
But Frank said no rules were broken.
“I stopped them from removing a portion of a tree very near the lake,” he said.
All other vegetation that was removed was “well outside” the 35-foot boundary protected by the current law, he said.
“We did our job. We can’t enforce code that doesn’t exist,” he said.
Residents said that should change too, with perhaps a wider boundary required for shoreline vegetation.
They also suggested banning paved driveways for seasonal residents, who won’t have to shovel it. Those who live there year-round should not be allowed to seal the driveway, they said.
The two measures would reduce runoff to the lake.
Board members indicated they were willing to consider the ideas. Supervisor John Strough said he would put the issue on the agenda for discussion at a workshop meeting this month.
“Maybe it’s time for us to look at our waterfront residential zone and make it more protective,” he said.
But Frank does not support the residents’ main request: requiring site plan review for each new house in the zone.
“That’s why we have those triggers,” he said, referring to rules about building within 50 feet of the lake or a slope.
The Planning Board is already very busy, he added. He doesn’t like the idea of adding more projects to the board’s purview.
“It means a lot of additional work for staff,” he said.