PRESENT: Board Members: Scottie Adams, John LaHart, Bill Young, Mike Ritchie and Code
Enforcement Officer, Ed Lagree and Special Town Counsel, Mike Hill (via speakerphone)
RECUSED: Beth Hall
Public: Curt Stiles, Guy Middleton, Upper Saranac Lake Foundation Lake Manager, Michelle
Brown-Garcia, Paula McGovern and Bob Goodsell from Friends of Eagle Island (FEI) and
3 other unidentified persons.
Minutes Prepared By: Scottie Adams
The meeting was called to order by Chair, Scottie Adams at 2:00 PM on September 15, 2016.
The first order of business was to approve the meeting minutes from 09/01/16 that were informally
approved via email. Mike Ritchie moved that the minutes from 09/01/16 be approved. John LaHart
seconded the motion. All were in favor. The motion was approved unanimously.
Planning Board Chair, Scottie Adams reviewed the process involved in amending the Land Use Code as
requested in the FEI petition. Briefly, after receiving the petition from the Town Board, the Planning
Board will review the petition and all concerns and supporting material. The Planning Board will then
report to the Town Board. The Town Board will schedule a public hearing and then vote on the
amendment. If approved the amendment will become effective after filing with the NYS Secretary of
Scottie Adams summarized the minutes of the last meeting in which the Planning Board expressed their
concern that the proposed amendment was specific to FEI and it was thought that if the Land Use Code
were to be amended it should apply to all National Registered Historic Landmarks. The amendment was
revised by the TSC special counsel, Mike Hill, with input from FEI. All members of the Board have a copy
of the modified proposed amendment.
The proposed amendment for the 9/15/16 meeting is attached as an addendum. The modified
amendment is similar to the initial amendment, without any specific dates and has been broken down
into 6 subsections. The gist of the amendment, Subsections A-E would be to allow owners of a property
designated as a National Historic Landmark, on which the nonconforming uses had ceased to exist, to
request that the Town Board pass a resolution, after a public hearing, allowing the nonconforming use
to continue. The property owners would have 2 years to resume the non-conforming use, with a 1-year
extension possible. Section F of the modified proposed amendment specifies that the "The property
owner which submitted the Petition dated July 12, 2016 to the Town Board for an amendment to the
Town's Land Use Law to add this sub-section 8.15 shall be deemed to have satisfied the requirements of
sub-sections A and B above..."
Mike Hill explained by written memo to the Planning Board and over the speakerphone that this clause
was necessary so that if the amendment were approved, FEI and the Town Board would not have to
start the review process over again which would "be redundant, duplicative and somewhat inefficient."
The next topic considered was clarifications about former activities concerning (1) water sports,
especially water - skiing, (2) duration of activity season and (3) use of the swim platform. A
comprehensive memorandum dated 9/13/16 was sent to the Planning Board by FEI, in response to
questions raised during the 9/1/16 Planning Board meeting, which included a "short response" and also
a very detailed response.
To summarize and/or paraphrase: (1) The "other boating activities" consist of canoeing, kayaking, row
boating and some limited water skiing instruction (not in Gilpin Bay), but no motorized personal
watercraft ("jet skis"), no tube riding behind motorboats ("tubing"), and no parasailing. (2) Personnel
will be on the island from Ice out until approximately mid - October. Camps are planned from the end of
June through August and perhaps family camps through September. (3) It was confirmed that the swim
platform would not be used to moor motorboats. Near the main waterfront area, there is one small
dock for motorized craft and 2 small temporary floating platforms, one for mooring sailboats, the other
for canoes and kayaks.
Scottie Adams reported that at the Town Board meeting there were concerns raised by the public about
the proposed restoration of historical uses of Eagle Island. She told the public that the most effective
way to get their concerns addressed was to put them in writing to the Planning Board. Three letters
were received from Gilpin Bay residents expressing concerns about specific activities, the boat launch
area, boat traffic, introduction and/or spread of invasive species, public usage of Eagle Island, number of
people on the island, and further questions about water sports and length of season. These concerns
were forwarded to FEI and they promptly responded. A memo dated 9/14/16 was received by the
Planning Board in which these concerns were addressed. Additionally, the chair distributed to the Board
a list of all the letters (20) received in support of the FEI. Briefly, the activities have previously been
outlined in 2 previous memos. "The Island will not be rented out or used for weddings or separate
functions. " The boat launch on the mainland is private property with a very limited number of
neighbors who are allowed to use it to launch their boats on the spring and take out in the fall. There is
adequate parking for 40 vehicles, but campers traditionally arrive by bus. Boat traffic will be similar to
what it has been in the past with special consideration given to the route and no wake zones as
recommended by the USL Association. A new boat is being used which is much quieter than the
previous transport boat. Boats used have only been on USL, so should not present a danger of
introducing invasive species. Public visitation to Eagle Island will be by invitation and limited to days and
events hosted and supervised by FEI. The public will not simply be able to visit the island at any time the
public chooses. Maximum number of campers is 140 with 48 Staff.
John LaHart had a question about the wording describing the use of the parking area. He thought the
wording implied there could be 40 vehicles plus boats and trailers in the off-season. He also wanted to know if there are 48 staff and only room for 40 cars, how will that work. He also passed along the
concern about how garbage will be handled. The Board will seek a clarification or rewording on these
Guy Middleton, USL manager, suggested that the list of water activities which will NOT take place should
include wake surfing, which is not technically covered in the prohibition " no "tubing" (pulling a tube or
similar inflatable or flotation board behind a motorboat), because no "pulling" is involved.
Michelle Brown-Garcia, requested a copy of the FEI replies to the concerns expressed by Gilpin Bay
residents. These are part of the public record and are available to the public by requesting them through
the Town Clerk. A representative from FEI was able to provide Michelle with a copy at the meeting.
Guy Middleton, USL manager inquired as to "what happens if the mission of the FEI changes and their
activities are expanded or changed"? "What happens 20-30 years down the road?" Scottie replied that
one reason the Planning Board is reviewing the requested change to the Land Use Code is so that all
former activities can be documented. The CEO, Ed Lagree pointed out that Section 8.11 of the Land Use
Code, "Pre-existing uses" states "However, no land shall be subdivided, its use changed or existing
structures or buildings expanded so as to create a nonconforming lot, use, building or other structure
more nonconforming from the effective date of this local law.
Michelle Brown-Garcia asked for a clarification on whether FEI would have to apply for a variance if the
amendment were approved. The answer is "no" as long as FEI uses the property only in the same ways
that the property was used historically. At the first meeting on the subject of the FEI petition, whether
a Use variance would be more appropriate was discussed extensively and rejected.
Discussion followed on what to include in the written report to the Town Board. The report should
include (1) Revised draft amendment to the Section VIII of Land Use Code, (2) Counsel's memo to the
Planning Board explaining justification for Section F of the proposed draft amendment, (3) all
correspondence from FEI, (4) all letters of recommendations, (5) all letters expressing concerns, (6)
Planning Board minutes from 9/1, 9/15 and 9/29, 2016. A summary of all of the above should be
Town Counsel advised that any further comments should be sent to the Town Board or saved until the
public hearing, so that the Planning Board can complete their part of the process. The Board members
were polled as to their approval of the Draft Revised Section 8.15 - Land Use Law - mmsh - FEI rev 3 - 09-
14-16.pdf. All members agreed that this revision was acceptable and should be submitted to the Town
Board as part of the report.
The next Planning Board meeting will be on 9/29/16 at 2 PM in the Santa Clara Town Hall. Chair, Scottie
Adams will send out the minutes by email and will prepare a draft report to be discussed at the next
John LaHart moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mike Richie. All Board members were in favor.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:09 PM.