LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid village Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing on the creation of a four-way intersection, even though signs and road markings for it have already been installed.
"We were advised by counsel that the creation of a four-way intersection requires an amendment of our local law," village Mayor Craig Randall said at a meeting Monday night.
The village decided to convert the intersection of Parkside Drive and Mirror Lake Drive into a four-way stop after hearing about safety concerns from officials at the National Sports Academy, which is located next door to the North Elba Town Hall.
The village of Lake Placid has installed new stop signs at the intersection of Mirror Lake Drive and Parkside Drive, seen here prior to being uncovered, but they won’t be enforceable until trustees hold a public hearing and amend local law.
Randall said village officials looked into the concerns at the intersection and decided the best thing to do to slow down traffic on Mirror Lake Drive was to set up a four-way stop. The intersection currently requires motorists driving along Parkside Drive to stop on either side of the intersection, while motorists on Mirror Lake Drive don't have a stop sign.
"At this point, the signs are up, the paint is on the pavement, and I'm delighted to see that some people are actually stopping," Randall said.
Village Attorney Janet Bliss explained that the village is required to host a public hearing whenever it plans to amend a local law. She said that because there's no local law on the books regarding the intersection, if someone is ticketed by police for running one of the new stop signs, it wouldn't be enforceable.
Randall said he wanted the village to go ahead and uncover the stop signs to get motorists into the habit of stopping at the intersection before school starts up again this fall. Trustee Zay Curtis agreed, noting that as of Monday, the pavement marking directed motorists to stop, even though there wasn't a visible stop sign.
"I know somebody that just yesterday came down the road and saw the stop sign on the street, and he came to a very sudden stop," Curtis said. "The guy behind him almost rear-ended him. Everybody is confused."
Former village police Chief Scott Monroe attended Monday night's meeting and asked if the board should wait to make a decision about the intersection until after the public hearing.
"Wouldn't it be prudent to cover up the painting on the road and not have the sign up and leave it the way it is until you have the public hearing?" he asked. "It's either that, or it sounds like the public hearing is a moot thing because you've already made your mind up."
Curtis said if the public indicates they don't want the four-way stop, the board will listen.
The board eventually voted to hold a public hearing on the intersection at 9 a.m. July 2 at the North Elba Town Hall. In the meantime, the village will uncover the stop signs on Mirror Lake Drive, although without an amendment to the local law, tickets won't be enforceable.
Monroe insisted that the village was opening up a can of worms with the situation. He said if someone ran the stop sign and hit another vehicle, the driver of the vehicle that got hit could try to hold the village responsible.
Trustee Jason Leon voted against the motion because he was worried about setting a bad precedent. He said the stop signs should be taken down and the pavement markings covered up until after the public hearing is held.
"I understand the intent, but I'm uncomfortable," Leon said.
Bliss said there would be legal issues either way.
"It's confusing, and it's an incomplete situation," she said.
The stop signs were uncovered as of Wednesday, June 20.