TOWN OF SANTA CLARA BOARD MEETINGS
Minutes of a Public Hearing and Regular Monthly Meeting of the Santa Clara Town Board held on Thursday, June 17, 2021 at Saranac Inn, NY Town Hall and via Zoom, at 6:00 P.M.
Roll as follows for the Regular Monthly Meeting:
- Andrew McGill - Supervisor
- David Perry - Councilman
- Richard Lyon - Councilman
- Marcel "Mickey" Webb - Councilman
- John Murray - Councilman
- Scott LaMay - Superintendent of Highways
- Laurie McGill - Town Clerk
Public Hearing Called to order by Supervisor McGill at 6:00 P.M for the purpose of continuing the consideration of proposed Local Law No. 02 of 2021. Local Law No. 02 would extend an existing moratorium from June 30, 2021 to December 31, 2021, on commercial development within the R-C 1.3 and R-C 3.2 zoning districts in the Town of Santa Clara for the purpose of allowing time for the Santa Clara Town Board to develop and enact new regulations governing commercial development in those zoning districts.
All those wishing to make oral or written comments having been heard, a motion was made by Mickey Webb, seconded by Rick Lyon to close the Public Hearing on Proposed Local Law 02-2021. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Regular board meeting called to order by Supervisor McGill at 6:10 P.M.
RESOLUTION NO.: 10 INTRODUCED BY: MICKEY WEBB
SECONDED BY: RICK LYON
RESOLUTION ADOPTING PROPOSED LOCAL LAW No. 02 OF 2021
EXTENDING THE EXISTING MORATORIUM ON COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE R-C 1.3 and R-C 3.2 ZONING DISTRICTS
IN THE TOWN OF SANTA CLARA
WHEREAS, on February 11, 2021, the Santa Clara Town Board (the "Town Board") duly adopted a Resolution approving Local Law No. 1 of 2021 to establish a moratorium on commercial development in the Town's R-C 1.3 and R-C 3.2 zoning districts (the "Moratorium") in order to provide the Town with time to develop and enact zoning regulations to govern commercial development in those zoning districts, and
WHEREAS, the New York State Secretary of State's Office filed Local Law No. 1 of 2021 on February 17, 2021, making the Moratorium effective, and
WHEREAS, on January 14, 2021, the Town Board adopted a Resolution engaging the Chazen Companies ("Chazen") to assist the Town in drafting commercial marina regulations to be added to the Town's Land Use Law as part of the commercial development regulations that would govern the Town's R-C 1.3 and R-C 3.2 zoning districts, and
WHEREAS, on January 14, 2021, the Town Board authorized the establishment of a Special Committee composed of six Town officials to work with Chazen and prepare draft commercial marina regulations for the Town Board's consideration, and
WHEREAS, during the existing Moratorium the Special Committee met on February 18th, March 31, April 14, April 28, May19, and June 16th and was diligent in working on and completing a draft of proposed commercial marina regulations, which it has provided to the Town Board for review by the Town's Planning Board and Town Board, and for adoption after any revisions the Town Board deems appropriate, and
WHEREAS, the existing Moratorium on commercial development in the Town's R-C 1.3 and R-C 3.2 zoning districts will expire on June 30, 2021, before the Town Board's process of reviewing, revising and adopting the proposed commercial marina regulations, as well as drafting and adopting any other commercial development regulations the Town Board deems necessary, can be completed, and
WHEREAS, the Town Board finds it is appropriate and necessary to extend the existing Moratorium in order to allow time for the Town Board to finish the process of drafting, adopting and incorporating new commercial marina regulations and any other necessary commercial development regulations for the Town's R-C 1.3 and R-C 3.2 zoning districts into the Town's Land Use Law, reflecting duly-adopted policies of the Town with regard to such commercial development and
WHEREAS, extension of a moratorium is an exempt Type II Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act ("SEQRA") at 6 NYCRR 617.5(c)(36), and
WHEREAS, on May 13, 2021, the Town Board opened a duly-noticed Public Hearing with respect to proposed Local Law No. 02 of 2021 and made minor revisions to it, and continued the Public Hearing to its meeting on June 17, 2021,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Town Board hereby finds that adoption of proposed Local Law No. 02 of 2021 is exempt from review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that after due consideration the Town Board hereby adopts Local Law No. 02 of 2021 extending the existing duly-enacted Moratorium on commercial development in the Town's R-C 1.3 and R-C 3.2 zoning districts until December 31, 2021, and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Town Board hereby authorizes and directs the Town Clerk to file Local Law No. 02 of 2021, in substantially the same form as hereby approved, with the New York Department of State in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Home Rule Law and acknowledges that the Local Law will take effect immediately upon filing by the Department of State, and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Resolution shall take effect immediately.
The question of the adoption of this Resolution was duly put to a vote on roll call which resulted in votes by each Town Board member as follows:
AYES: Webb, Murray, Lyon, Perry, McGill
The Resolution was declared duly adopted by the Town Board.
LOCAL LAW NO. 02 OF 2021
A LOCAL LAW
EXTENDING THE MORATORIUM ON COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT
IN THE R-C-1.3 AND R-C-3.2 ZONING DISTRICTS
OF THE TOWN OF SANTA CLARA
BE IT ENACTED BY THE SANTA CLARA TOWN BOARD AS FOLLOWS
1. Title and Authority - This Local Law shall be known as the Town of Santa Clara Commercial Development Moratorium Law. It is adopted pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law §10.
2. Purpose - The current development characteristics of the Town of Santa Clara present significant qualities which are essential to the continued development of the economy of the Town. The purpose and intent of the R-C zoning districts is to preserve the natural beauty and wilderness character of the area as much as possible, consistent with providing needed goods and services for residents and visitors. Areas of the Town within these zoning districts may be more likely to attract inappropriate development and would be more adversely impacted by that development. This moratorium is necessary in order to temporarily suspend commercial development in the R-C zoning districts of the Town to allow the Town Board time to prepare a Local Law or Ordinance to establish provisions in the Town of Santa Clara Land Use Law governing commercial development within the R-C Zoning Districts in order to ensure that such development will be compatible with and maintain the natural beauty and wilderness character of the Town to the greatest extent possible.
The Town Board previously imposed a moratorium on commercial development in the R-C-1.3 and R-C-3.2 Zoning Districts and further provided that no application under the Town's Land Use Code involving any such Development within the Moratorium Area would be accepted, processed, reviewed or approved during that period. The Board created a Special Committee to draft regulations governing commercial development and engaged The Chazen Companies to assist the Special Committee. The Special Committee has met four times (on February 18th, March 31st, April 14th and April 28th) and plans to meet as often as needed and possible until the draft regulations are completed. However, it appears that the Special Committee will not be able to prepare such regulations and the Town Board will not be able to enact commercial development regulations before the expiration of the initial Moratorium on June 30, 2021. Accordingly, the Board has determined that additional time is needed for preparation of proposed regulations, finalization of a draft Local Law and compliance with statutory procedural requirements to ensure that regulations governing commercial development in that portion of the Town adequately enhance and protect the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Town and are properly adopted.
3. Definitions -
"Commercial Use" means any use involving the sale or rental or distribution of goods, services or commodities, either retail or wholesale, or the provision of recreation facilities or activities for a fee.
"Development" means any man-made change to improved or unimproved real property including, but not limited to, construction or expansion of buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, paving, grading, excavation, extensive clearing of vegetation, drilling operations or storage of shipping containers or of construction equipment or building materials for construction of, or expansion of, buildings or structures. Routine maintenance of and in-kind repairs to, or re-construction of, an existing building, structure or other improvement on the same footprint or foundation, which do not increase the surface area, footprint, perimeter, height or volume of the building, structure or other improvement and do not change its use, do not constitute "development" for purposes of this definition and Local Law. Building Permit requirements would still apply.
"Moratorium Area" means the Town's R-C-1.3 and R-C-3.2 zoning districts.
4. Moratorium - The Town Board hereby extends the moratorium on undertaking any Development related to a Commercial Use in the Moratorium Area for a period of six months, commencing on the expiration the initial moratorium on June 30, 2021 and extending until December 31, 2021, and further provides that no application under the Town's Land Use Code involving any such Development within the Moratorium Area will be accepted, processed, reviewed or approved during that period. Except as provided in paragraph 5 below, upon the effective date of this Local Law, review and/or processing of any application pending before the Town Code Enforcement Officer, Variance Board or Planning Board or any other Town board, body or official for any permit or approval for development of a new or existing commercial use of property within the Town's R-C-1.3 and/or R-C-3.2 zoning districts shall be suspended and no permits or approvals shall be issued with respect to any such application until after termination of the moratorium. Following termination of the Moratorium and the effective date of any legislation enacted by the Town Board as described in paragraph 2 above, any further review and/or processing of any applications before the Town Code Enforcement Officer, Variance Board or Planning Board or any other Town board, body or official for any permit or approval for development of a new or existing commercial use of property within the Town's R-C-1.3 and/or R-C-3.2 zoning districts that were pending at the time the Local Law establishing the initial Moratorium was adopted shall be conducted under and in accordance with the provisions of the Town of Santa Clara Land Use Law in effect following termination of the Moratorium.
5. Variances - The Town Board shall have the power, after a Public Hearing, to vary or modify the application of any provision of this Local Law upon its determination that strict application of this Local Law would impose practical difficulties or extraordinary hardships upon an applicant and that the variance granted would not adversely affect the health, safety or welfare of the citizens of the Town or significantly conflict with the general purposes and intent of this Local Law. Any request for a variance shall be in writing and filed with the Town Clerk. The Town Board shall conduct a Public Hearing on the application on not less than five (5) days' public notice and shall make its decision within thirty (30) days after the close of the Public Hearing. Any project which is granted a variance from this Local Law shall be subject to all requirements under the Town's Land Use Law which would have been applicable to the project if the moratorium had not been adopted.
6. Further Extensions - This moratorium may be further extended for such additional periods as the Town Board may determine to be necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Town and accomplish the purposes and intent of this Local Law.
7. Termination - This moratorium may be terminated earlier than December 31, 2021 upon enactment of local legislation regulating Development in the Moratorium Area, or otherwise in the discretion of the Town Board.
8. Severability - The invalidity of any clause, sentence, paragraph or provision of this Local Law shall not invalidate any other clause, sentence, paragraph or part thereof.
9. Repealer; Supersession - All Local Laws or Ordinances or parts of Local Laws or Ordinances in conflict with any part of this Local law are hereby repealed. This Local Law is intended to supersede the provisions of Town Law Section 267-b, authorizing only the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant variances, solely for the purpose of allowing the Town Board to grant variances from the application of any provision of this Local Law as provided in paragraph 5 above. This Local Law is further intended to supersede the default subdivision approval provisions in Town Law Section 276 only to the extent that a delay resulting from the moratorium could be alleged to trigger a default approval.
10. Effective Date - This Local Law shall take effect upon filing by the office of the New York State Secretary of State or as otherwise provided by law.
Marina Regulations - Mickey Webb updated the Board on the work the Special Committee has done on the Marina Regulations. At this point all members on the Special Committee are recommending that the draft be sent to the Planning Board for review. Hopefully the Planning Board will be able to review and report back to the Town Board before the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting. On a motion by Mickey Webb, seconded by Rick Lyon the Board approved sending the draft to the Planning Board for review. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Mowing Contract -The mowing contract has been received from the Franklin County Highway Superintendent for mowing of the County Roads 46 and 18. On a motion by Mickey Webb, seconded by John Murray the Board accepted the contract to mow the county roads. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Regular Monthly meeting for July 2021 will be Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 6:00 P.M. at the Santa Clara Town Hall. As COVID restrictions have been lifted all meetings will now be held completely in person.
Open Discussion - Guy Middleton, Lake Manager read the following statement:
On behalf of the Upper Saranac Foundation, as Lake Manager I would like to commend the TSC Special Marina Regulations Committee for its commitment to take on such an arduous task as well as acknowledge the significant time and effort needed to develop a regulation for marinas.
As you are aware the USLA and USF have participated in the process, attending meetings and submitting comments. The volume of material and research being reviewed is considerable and time consuming.
Based on the USF's investments in water quality and our long-term knowledge of the USL watershed, the USF feels that there is a great deal more that marina regulations can do to protect the towns valuable resource.
While the Santa Clara drafted scant regulations other nearby towns have been working to update their more robust codes for even better protection of water quality. These include recommendations made by the USF and USLA that weren't a consideration for Santa Clara.
In general, the proposed regulations lack specificity. There is limited consideration for aquatic invasive species spread prevention, maintaining water quality, or the waterbodies capacity to withstand various watercraft use or boat traffic.
The proposed Santa Clara regulations defer guidance to a NYSDEC document when Assessing and Mitigating Visual and Aesthetic Impacts. That document in turn defers to "local decision makers" when the DEC is not the lead agency.
The proposed regulations charge the Planning Board with a tremendous burden with no guidelines, little to no oversight, and little or no recourse for developers or environmental advocates to refute the Boards decision.
Furthermore, it is foreseeable that multiple members of this Board will recuse themselves in this decision process, leaving resolutions to a few, making judgements that have implications on an entire watershed.
Lastly, the proposed regulations sent to the Town Board today were revised just last evening, altering the proposed regulations significantly without providing an opportunity for public comment.
Dave Powalyk of Upper Saranac Lake Association made the following comments:
As the Town Board may be aware the USLA and USF have participated in the process, attending all of the meetings and submitting written comments. Both of our organizations have viewed our involvement as a partnership with the Town in attempting to craft appropriate sustainable commercial marina regulations. We truly appreciate the opportunity to work with the TSC to accomplish this goal.
As you know, the TSC Special Committee did not take our questions or comments during their open meetings and only allowed written responses after each discussion. We followed that process and submitted written responses to each meeting.
At last evenings Special Committee meeting, they continued to revise the draft regulations and have now submitted their draft to the Town Board. Our organizations did not get the opportunity to ask questions or comment to yesterday's final draft and therefore would like to briefly discuss a couple of our major concerns at this time:
- While other localities have revising their regulations to better enable and control commercial development as well as the spread of invasive species, Santa Clara is proposing a number of non-specific regulations for commercial marinas that do not accomplish the same.
- The regulations clearly define a process for an applicant to appeal the decision of the TSC Planning Board but does NOT define a process for organizations like USLA and USF or for that matter the public to appeal their decisions.
The USLA membership has continued to share their concerns with our Government Affairs Committee. And, we have relayed those concerns throughout the process to the Town's Special Committee.
We will continue to share our concerns with our 550 members and guide them to participate in the public comment sessions that will follow. We hope that our interactions enable the business, residential, and State owned facilities to coexist within our Adirondack community and maintain the delicate balance necessary for all.
John LaHart inquired when the Special Committee report would be sent to the Planning Board for review. John also wanted to know when the draft of the short term rental regulations would be on the meeting schedule. The Board advised that it was just received on June 16th. More time was required for the Board to review it before it was put on any schedule to be discussed. John also asked about the Code Officer. Currently the Code Officer is on vacation and Harrietstown Code Officer, Todd David, is filling in. Once the current Code officer retires the position may be filled by the Temporary Officer.
Good of the Town
Scott LaMay, Highway Superintendent reported that the road sand for next winter has been put up. 1738 tons at a total of $9,993.50. Work will begin on some of the bad spots on the dirt roads by putting gravel down. This road work will include Floodwood Road, Blue Mountain Road and Dexter Road. Road salt price came in at $71.35 a ton which is down from 2020 when it was $79.99 a ton. County grader was brought up by the county but it has blown a head gasket and is out of service. County Route 46 and the landfill have been mowed.
John Murray reported he has been in contact with the Town of Waverly supervisor about a plowing contract for 2021 -2022. Waverly is working on the numbers and will get back to John.
Mickey Webb discussed Ed LaGree's retirement after 20 years of service to the Town. Ed does not want anything done for his retirement. Mickey suggested a gift card. On a motion by Andy McGill, seconded by John Murray the Board authorized Mickey Webb to get Ed a gift card for $500.00 as a retirement gift. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Motion by Mickey Webb, seconded by Rick Lyon to go into Executive Session at 7:15 P.M. to discuss pending litigation with Town Counsel. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Motion by Mickey Webb, seconded by Rick Lyon to return from Executive Session at 7:35 P.M. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
General Fund vouchers No. 100 to 121 in the amount of $14,042.21 and Highway Fund vouchers No. 36 to 43 in the amount of $5,988.51 were audited by the Board. Motion by Dave Perry seconded by John Murray to approve vouchers and pay audited vouchers. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Motion to adjourn at 7:40 P.M. made by Dave Perry, seconded by Rick Lyon. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.