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About the APA boathouse regulations

January 25, 2010
Lake Placid News
To the editor:

    I have lived in Lake Placid for 40 years, our family owns a camp on Lake Placid Lake and my wife’s family has owned a camp on Big Wolf Lake for close to 100 years. We have grown up on the lakes and enjoy the tranquility of waterfront living and all it has to offer, fishing, boating, swimming, sailing and relaxing on the water.

We feel very fortunate to have access to this pristine lakefront, considering the rising real estate taxes, cost of living, we as a family must ensure we can keep the camps for the next generation.

    When one paddles slowly by the Great camps and boathouses on Upper St. Regis, Spitfire, the Saranac’s, Lake Placid lake and several other lakes one marvels at the architectural detail of the boathouses and structures scattered along the shoreline; the boathouses have withstood the test of time for 100 years and blend in to the lakefront. Some of these boathouse structures have actually been built within the past 15 years, although they look like they have been there for 100 years. These elaborate, rustic-looking boathouses are part of the Adirondacks and have been since the 1800s. Why is there such a need to destroy our heritage and over-regulate creative design?

    I have watched the evolution of the APA over the last 25 years and feel it serves a definite purpose in the Park and it does many good deeds assisting non-zoned townships in the Park, and  larger development projects that attempt to enter the park. Many of the smaller townships do not have the money or man-power to regulate the zoning in their towns; therefore, they need the assistance of the APA.

I agree that shoreline protection is crucial to keeping our lake camps uncluttered, spread out, semi-screened from view, which some current APA laws seem to be doing quite nicely.

     When the APA decided to “firm up” the boathouse regulations and get into architectural preference and limiting the enjoyment of families on the water. I felt strongly that the APA delved into an area that they are not designed to regulate. What the APA is currently forcing on the public and tax-paying owners of lakefront property is a cookie-cutter, Levittown-style, prefab one-story garage. To many, this is the definition of ugly and suburbia, not blending into the Adirondack lakes. This regulation will be sure to add clutter along shorelines instead of neatly tucked into boathouses.

    The other ramifications of over regulating boathouses and other structures is the financial impact it will have on the lakefront towns’ assessed values, building trades, architects, caretakers, marinas and the service industries of people who try to live in the Park and make a living.

I suggest the APA leave the regulation of boathouses to the towns that benefit from the creative architecture we have enjoyed for over the past 100 years. Most towns have boathouse regulations and enforce them when needed.

The new regulations will surely scar our beautiful lakes for the next several generations. Is this what we want to leave our children’s children?


Michael Damp


Lake Placid


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