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Lake Placid code updates suggested at special meeting

LAKE PLACID — Suggested alterations to the local land-use code were presented to the North Elba Town Council and Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees during a joint meeting on Friday, April 9.

The local land-use code hasn’t been substantially reviewed and rewritten since 2011.

Dean Dietrich, representing a committee created by lawmakers last May to review the town-village code, outlined a few different ideas for updating the code. The suggestions included:

– Allow income-based housing developments to be built taller, up to 45 feet.

– Impose standards for lawn signs.

– Change the definition of “marina” to mean anyone with more than one docked boat not owned by them.

– Require that floating docks be encapsulated to cut down on debris in lakes.

– Streamline the signage approval process.

– Standardize construction hours between the village and the town.

– Allow businesses to build expansions farther into the required setback.

– Update requirements for boathouses.

– Allow wastewater systems to be installed less than 300 feet from the shoreline if that distance isn’t possible.

– Update the invasive species list.

– Impose a new permit expiration rule that will require people to apply for a permit renewal if their project’s work isn’t completed in three years.

Lake Placid Mayor Art Devlin asked if people who were already issued permits years ago would be grandfathered in, or if they’d have to apply for new permits. Dietrich said that would be a question for legal counsel.

The committee has also suggested that definitions of “homeowners association,” “condominium association,” “basement,” “story above grade plane” and “enforcement officer” be added back into the code, and for “allowable agricultural uses” to replace “agricultural practices.”

The committee also suggested the following:

– The town and village require that both lit displays and LED signage for businesses be turned off during non-business hours.

– A rule be added prohibiting balloons or streamers on sandwich board signs.

– Minimum road width requirements be updated to align with New York state fire code.

– The town and village allow permit applications to be submitted digitally, with fewer paper copies.

Dietrich asked for the boards’ blessing before moving forward with formalizing the legal language for these ideas and putting them out to the public for feedback.

The land-use code review committee hasn’t scheduled a public hearing yet. After listening to what people have to say and potentially making some edits, the suggestions will be presented to the town and village again, according to Dietrich. The town and village would then need to have a public hearing before voting on whether to adopt the changes.

Separate from this code review process, Dietrich noted that the joint comprehensive plan is being looked at, too. The comprehensive plan is essentially a road map to guide future development here, based on what kind of place community members want Lake Placid to be, from public transportation to housing.

The last time it was updated was in 2014. The comprehensive plan lays out the broad vision while the land-use code gives detailed rules to uphold those priorities.

Members of the land-use code review committee include Dietrich, Devlin, planning consultant Liz Clarke, New York State Adirondack Park Agency Special Assistant for Economic Affairs Dan Kelleher, village Trustee Jackie Kelly, Darci LaFave and Michael Orticelle from the town Code Enforcement Office, North Elba town Councilor Emily Politi, town-village Joint Review Board lawyer Tim Smith, GIS map technician Patrick Wells and North Elba Community Development Director Haley Breen.