Town/village Joint Review Board members disagree with Experience Outdoors plan

Entrance to Experience Outdoors on state Route 73 near Lake Placid (News photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — The town-village Joint Review Board was forced to table a local business owner’s request to host events once a month in the summertime because it did not have a quorum. The proposal is expected to come up again at a future meeting.

The owners of Experience Outdoors, a zip line and team building course on state Route 73, initially asked the Joint Review Board to authorize the business to host special events three days a month from May to October, with those events expected to last until 10 p.m. At least one of the events may have included the business’s high ropes course, according to the original project application, so business owners Marc Doering and Bill Walton also asked for permission to extend the business’s operating hours from 6 to 9 p.m. during special events. After hearing feedback from neighbors at a public hearing on July 7 — during which multiple neighbors expressed concern over noise pollution and alleged code violations, which Doering has denied — the business owners altered their request, paring down the number of special events to one per month, only on weekends, with no use of the high ropes course.

Based on neighbors’ feedback, board member David Genito offered a compromise at the board’s meeting on Wednesday, July 21 that would see the application approved with conditions attached. With the conditional approval, the business owners would only be authorized to host one event per month, only on a Friday or Saturday, and events could only run until 9 p.m.

Even with Genito’s compromise, the vote was split one to three, with Genito voting yes and board members John Rosenthal, Chip Bissell and board Chairman Rick Thompson voting no.

Two of the Joint Review Board’s members recused themselves: Walton, who co-owns the business, and Bob Rafferty. Because of those recusals, all of the remaining four board members who were present at Wednesday’s meeting would’ve had to vote to approve the application for it to move forward, because the review board has seven members and there has to be a majority vote, according to Tim Smith, the Joint Review Board’s attorney.

“I’m going to say I’m opposed, sorry,” Thompson told Doering on July 21.

Smith told the Joint Review Board that although the application wasn’t approved, it can still come up at a future meeting.

Doering, before the board voted, drew attention to events he has seen hosted at the nearby Craig Wood Golf Course, Cascade Ski Center and the Olympic Jumping Complex. He said he thinks it’s “ridiculous” that other businesses are allowed to do the same thing his business has asked permission to do.

“We’re just looking to do special events once a month, but with live music until 10 p.m.,” he said.

Bissell said the review board doesn’t have purview over those properties.