TOWN OF SANTA CLARA PLANNING BOARD

July 11, 2017

PRESENT: Board Members: Scottie Adams, Mike Ritchie, John LaHart, Bill Young and Code Enforcement Officer, Ed LaGree.

ABSENT: Beth Hall (medical)

The meeting was called to order by Chair, Scottie Adams at 6:30 PM.

Site Plan Application:

The first item of business was to review and rule on a Site Plan Application indicated below:

APPLICANT: Randy and Tracey Schrader

PARCEL ID: 473.4-2-28.1oo

LOCATION: 118 Hoel Pond Road, Church Pond

Scottie Adams advised the Board that she emailed the applicants using the email address provided on the application to advise them that the application could be considered at the July 11, meeting since a meeting was already scheduled. She informed them that although it as not necessary to be at the meeting, it is often helpful to have someone to answer any questions that come up. She further advised the Schrader’s that if they could not be present at the July11 meeting due to the short notice, and desired to be present, then a separate meeting could be scheduled to accommodate their schedule. No reply was received in response to the email. Therefore the Planning Board will rule on the application at this meeting.

The applicants seek to construct a dock that is 4 ft. x 18 ft. (72 sq. ft.) plus a 12 ft. x 12 ft. (144 sq. ft.) platform on the end. Total length of the dock is 30 ft. and total square footage is 216 sq. ft. The proposed dock conforms to requirements specified in Section 7.35 of the Town of Santa Clara Land Use Code.

John LaHart reminded the Board that the purpose of the Land Use Code expressed in Article 1.3 is to preserve the character of the area. He expressed concern that he and other neighbors on the Pond felt the dock was too big for the size of the pond. The pond is only 24 acres. A 30 ft. dock is appropriate on a large body of water such as Upper Saranac Lake, but not on a 24-acre pond. The proposed dock is larger than any other dock currently on Church Pond. He provided data that the average length of 17 docks on Church Pond was 21.7 ft. The proposed dock would be visible from every property on the Pond. Scottie Adams pointed out that the dock would be located on a point of the pond and therefore would be more prominent than a dock originating in a cove.

Ed LaGree suggested that there might be a deed restriction on dock size, but deed restrictions are not an issue on which the Planning Board has any control.

John LaHart moved that the application be approved with a request to the Schrader’s to consider downsizing their dock to conform to other docks on the pond as a courtesy to their neighbors and to maintain the character of the neighborhood. Bill Young seconded the motion. All members present voted in favor of the motion.

Other Business:

The ongoing project concerning the updating of the TSC Land Use Map was the next topic of discussion. The project was prompted by the possible sale of the Hickok property, including the marina, the campground, the restaurant and 2 homes and the fact that the properties in question have different Land Use Codes. However it is difficult to ascertain exactly under which classification each property falls.

Scottie Adams read Section 3.3 of the Land Use Code that pertain to the Land Use Map and the interpretation of its boundaries.

  • 3.30 INTERPRETATION OF BOUNDARIES
  • Where interpretation of district boundaries are needed, the following rules shall apply:
    • 3.31 Lot Lines
    • Where district boundaries are so indicated that they approximately follow the lot lines, such lot lines shall be construed to be said boundaries.
    • 3.32 Division of Lot
    • In unsubdivided land where a district boundary divides a lot, the location of such boundary, unless the same is indicated by dimensions shown on the map, shall be determined by the use of the scale appearing thereon.
    • 3.33 Interpretation
    • Where interpretation of boundaries is needed, the Board of Appeals shall be responsible for making final determinations.

Scottie Adams reported that she had searched the TSC archives for material relating to the intentions of the planners of the Land Use map. However, no relevant material was found. She will attempt to contact any surviving Board members from the era in which the Land Use Map was designed to find further information.

Scottie Adams pointed out that in many areas the TSC Land Use Map corresponds to the APA Land Use Map, so it should be possible to get a ruling from the APA to verify the classification of specific land parcels.

All agreed that Scottie Adams should contact Mickey Web, town Supervisor and request the Town Board approve funds for the update of the TSC Land Use Map to include data for the TSC land use designation of each parcel of land in TSC. The rationale is that having this data is an investment in the future for more efficient Planning Board and Variance Board decisions.

Further discussion followed on whether amending the Land Use Map to take into account current economic realities should be considered.

Discussion followed on whether the Planning Board should amend Article 7.35 of the TSC Land Use Code which regulates boathouse and dock size because of the DEC "suggestion" to boathouse builders that they build the boathouse 5 feet from shore to improve fish habitat. If the 5 ft. from shore option were implemented then the length of the dock would be 5 ft. shorter and the area of the ramp to access the boathouse would be included in the dockage square footage. If the 5 ft. suggestion were a DEC regulation, then an amendment would be considered. It was agreed that the TSC should not have to change their Land Use Code (a very lengthy process) every time the DEC had a suggestion. Owners can comply with the DEC suggestion if so desired, but the TSC regulations concerning the length of docks from shore and maximum square footage of docks will remain the same.

Next meeting will be scheduled via email to allow input by Beth Hall. The meeting will be scheduled some time in August and in the evening to accommodate work schedules.

Scottie will provide Planning Board minutes to the Planning Board members by email for final approval before submitting to the Town Clerk for posting on the Town of Santa Clara web site. Likewise, she will draft a letter to the Schrader’s for the Planning Board’s approval.

Bill Young moved that the meeting be adjourned. John LaHart seconded the motion. All were in favor. Meeting was adjourned at 7:20 PM.

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