LAKE GEORGE — Lake George’s zoning code could receive an overhaul to bring it into the 21st century under changes proposed by town officials.
“It’s probably one of the biggest changes in the zoning code since it’s been adopted,” said Dan Barusch, director of planning and zoning for the town.
Barusch said about 99 percent of the proposed changes would benefit residents.
Barusch said the changes clean up some items that were never included in the code. For example, swimming pools were not allowed in all zoning districts and people had to get variances for that.
Another proposed change is to modify some of the setback requirements. He said it does not make sense for the setbacks to be the same in a lakefront district as in a residential district.
Also, the current code does not permit garages in the front yard. This would allow those uses as long as there is proper screening, according to Barusch.
Another change is to the minimum square footage requirements for floor area. Also, the amount of disturbed area that would require site plan review would increase from 5,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet.
There would also be language included about solar farms and solar panels and new categories for boat storage, brewery and distillery.
It would also change the definition of “tourist accommodations” from lodging that provides short-term rentals of less than seven days to less than 28 days. The town has been grappling with people who rent out their homes for weeks at a time.
Barusch provided a timeline of the process to the Town Board at its Monday meeting. The public will have a chance to review and comment on the draft amendments after they are posted to the website.
The schedule calls for the changes to be sent to the Planning Board in January for its review. A public hearing would take place before the Town Board in April. Then, the matter would go to the county for its review followed by more hearings over the summer and adoption by the board in October.
After the town gets public input and the code changes are in good shape, Barusch said they will be sent to the Adirondack Park Agency for review.
Board member Marisa Muratori praised Barusch for his efforts on this project.
“You see the things every day that need to be changed. I think it’s fantastic that you’re doing this. It takes a certain amount of conscientiousness beyond your everyday work,” he said.
In other business, the Town Board on Monday:
Approved a $6.36 million budget with no discussion. The budget increases spending by $244,000, or around 4 percent, over this year’s $6.11 million spending plan. It also includes funding to share the cost of a staff person to be hired by the operators of the Lake George Teen Center. The tax rate for the general fund would only decrease by around 2 cents to $1.517 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
Granted permission for Fire Chief Jason Berry to put specifications for a new fire vehicle out to bid. “That will give us a solid locked-in number, so we’re not guesstimating,” he said. The department wants to replace its current nearly 24-year-old firetruck with a new Sutphen tower truck. Among the problems with the current vehicle are cracks in the aerial lift cradle and a leaking pump. It has over 17,000 miles on it. The Sutphen truck that the department had been considering is roughly $930,000.
Scheduled a public hearing for Dec. 11 at 6:15 p.m. at Town Hall on an amendment to a local law to prevent littering. Barusch said the town has been having an issue with private garbage receptacles. There are numerous complaints about the cans being left on other people’s property and not being emptied in a timely manner. That leaves it open for animals to get in.