Board Members: Scottie Adams, John LaHart, Bill Young, Mike Ritchie and Code Enforcement Officer, Ed LaGree
Absent: Beth Hall
Public: Curt Stiles, Guy Middleton, Upper Saranac Lake Foundation Lake Manager and Mr. and Mrs. Cohen from Gilpin Bay
Minutes Prepared By: Scottie Adams
The meeting was called to order by Chair, Scottie Adams at 7:00 PM on September 1, 2016.
The first order of business was to approve the meeting minutes from 7/27/16 that were informally approved via email. Bill Young moved that the minutes from 7/26/16 be approved. The motion was seconded by John LaHart. All were in favor. The motion was approved unanimously.
The second order of business was to approve the meeting minutes from 8/18/16 that were informally approved via email. Mike Ritchie moved that the minutes from 7/26/16 be approved. The motion was seconded by Bill Young. All were in favor. The motion was approved unanimously.
The next order of business was to discuss and make written comments to the Variance Board on the project described below, before the public hearing on September 20, 2016, 7 PM.
APPLICANT: Nadine Case and Jeffrey Beamish
PARCEL ID: 474-1-6-100
LOCATION: 738 Bartlett Carry Rd, Upper Saranac Lake
The Variance Application of Nadine Case and Jeffrey Beamish seeks an area variance for a proposed dock that would be expanded from 414 sq. ft. to 654 sq. ft. creating a new boat slip. The existing boathouse is 306 sq. ft. The Land Use Code effective as of 12/29/2015 states that a square footage of a wharf, dock or pier shall not exceed 500 sq. ft. A boathouse shall not exceed an area of 625 sq. ft. In no event shall the combined areas of these units exceed 875 sq. ft. The new proposed dock would exceed the square footage allowed for a dock by 240 sq. ft., approximately a 60% increase in size. Additionally the combined area of the current boathouse and dock and the proposed dock would be 960 sq. ft.
It is noted that the map included showing the general area of the lot did not indicate which lot was to contain the proposed new dock. Franklin county tax rolls reported the waterfront as 200 ft. The CEO was able to provide a drawing of the subdivision and indicate which lot was under discussion. The drawing was to scale and although the exact shoreline footage was not determined, it was obviously substantially more than 200 ft. Shoreline footage is noted because Section 7.35 A specifies “the “width” of such wharf, dock or pier) shall not exceed 15% of the length of the shoreline of the lot”
Also noted is that no picture was provided of the current boathouse, which would have been useful. The CEO was able to provide a color picture of the current boathouse taken from the Dock Doctors catalog. It was useful to see that the current boathouse includes a roof-top deck.
Also noted that the submitted drawing did not include the length of the old or new dock.
The applicant’s rationale for the variance was that the “Boat will be docked there anyway. Safer to get in and out.” The CEO was able to provide the information that the applicants have a pontoon boat that is moored at the current dock.
After a discussion on this project, John LaHart moved and Mike Ritchie seconded that Planning Board recommend to the Variance Board that they see no compelling reason to grant the variance based on the facts presented to the Planning Board. Additionally, it was agreed that granting this variance with no compelling reason for it, would set an undesirable precedent. All were in favor. The motion was approved unanimously.
Scottie will prepare an abbreviated version of the Planning Board minutes that pertains to the Variance request and submit the letter to the Planning Board members by email for final approval before submitting to the Variance Board Chair and Secretary.
The next order of business was to discuss the petition and memorandum from the Friends of Eagle Island (FEI).
Planning Board Chair, Scottie Adams read the petition for the benefit of the member of the public in the audience, although it was noted that at least one person had a copy of the petition and accompanying memorandum.
The petition requests: Add a new subsection 8.15 to Article VIII - PRE-EXISTING NONCONFORMING USES AND BUILDINGS to read as follows: 8.15 National Historic Landmark Properties
Notwithstanding the provisions of 8.12, 8.13 and 8.14 in the event that a property contains buildings or structures that are designated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior, and such designated buildings or structures were utilized as part of a nonconforming use or uses which nonconforming use or uses were discontinued without the property’s use being changed to a conforming use, then the property shall have two years from October 1, 2016, within which to resume the prior nonconforming use or uses which time may be extended one additional year by application to the Planning Board for good cause shown. The provisions of this subsection 8.15 shall apply to any such property even is the cessation of the nonconforming use occurred prior to the adoption of this subsection.
Initial discussion centered on the specific date in the amendment. It might be better to state “property shall have two years from State Department approval.” But, further discussion centered on the fact that this proposed amendment is a one-time amendment specifically for the FEI. In three years the amendment would be moot. It was agreed that the code should not be modified just for a single case. The amendment should be worded in such a way that it is more general. Scottie will pass this concern to the TSC special counsel for Land Use matters, Mike Hill.
John LaHart questioned why a Use Variance was not applicable. He felt that changing the Land Use Code for a single entity was inappropriate. Scottie Adams and Ed LaGree both explained that their understanding was that the attorneys for the TSC and FEI agreed that a Use Variance was not ideal, since it is legally problematic.
Further discussion centered on items in the memorandum pertaining to historic activities. One concern was “other boating activities”. It is not known if motorized watersports were a historic activity, but numerous water skis were noticed during the Open House, in one of the rooms on the island. Because of Eagle Island’s proximity to Young Life, which has considerable motorized boating activity, it might be preferable to specify “other non motorized boating activities”. Even though it is stated that there will be no personalized watercraft used or parasailing, it would be more specific to also eliminate water skiing, tubing, wake boarding, etc. Bill Young pointed out that youth camp activities are regulated by the DOH, but this might not include other historic uses which re for adults.
John LaHart was interested to know how long the Island would be open.
Further discussion followed concerning the ancillary memo concerning the swim platforms. The swim platform that is much greater than the 30 ft. long allowed for a dock, was being used to dock boats at the Open House. The CEO pointed out that one other reason the swim platform was put into the water was simply to check out the condition and usability of the various portions of it. The swim platform has since been mostly removed and what is left is only to accommodate construction needs during the camp renovation. The memo documents the historic use of the swim platform and its exact dimensions. The memo also states in a footnote “Other than for the special occasion of the Open House, these swimming platforms were not and will not be used for mooring watercraft.”
The CEO mentioned that the Board needs to also consider that part of the Eagle Island properties is the parcel on the mainland. He pointed out that the Town needs an inventory of what structures are present and where they are located. John LaHart found the National Historic Landmark nomination application at https://www.nps.gov/nhl/find/statelists/ny/EagleIslandCamp.pdf. This document was prepared by local historian, Mary Hotaling. The document lists contributing and non- contributing resources and describes both categories in great detail. This link has been provided to all Planning Board members, the CEO and the special counsel.
There was some discussion about a possible site visit, but since all members of the Planning Board have previously visited the island, it was not deemed necessary, as a visit would prolong the petition process.
It was decided to meet again on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 7 PM. Scottie Adams will prepare the minutes of the meeting and the questions for the counsel and submit to the Planning Board, by email, for editing and approval. The approved minutes will be submitted to the Town Supervisor as usual. The minutes will also be submitted to the town counsel since the questions for him are contained with n the minutes.
Mike Richie moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by John LaHart. All Board members were in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 7:56 PM.
ADDENDUM: The next meeting was changed to 2 PM on Thursday, September 15, 2016 because one member had a prior commitment that could not be changed.