By Gwendolyn Craig
The Adirondack Park Agency approved on Thursday permits for two housing development projects — one in the village of Saranac Lake and one in the town of North Elba.
Devan Korn, an environmental programs specialist with APA, presented both projects before the board during an in-person meeting in Ray Brook.
Saranac Lake housing
The APA board authorized a permit for Parkview Development, a two-building redevelopment plan with access from Broadway and Depot Street, where there is currently an automobile tire shop. One building, called “The Loft” will be 17,100 square feet and include 63 residences. The second building, called “The Carry,” will be 3,000 square feet and include one office space and seven residences.
The Village of Saranac Lake’s development board approved the project in April. The project is intended to help with the village’s shortage of affordable housing. Korn said the state Department of Health, Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation are still reviewing water, sewer and road access. The area is served by municipal water and sewer, the permit application shows.
Art Lussi, an APA board member, was the only one to vote against the project. Throughout the regulatory committee’s meeting he asked questions about the project’s stormwater plan and the parking situation. The housing development will also have a parking lot with 33 spots. This concerned Lussi because there will be 70 residences.
“I just don’t see how it’s practical,” Lussi said.
Lussi, who owns the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lake Placid, said he was required to build a parking lot with one space for each room in the hotel. After some discussion, board members and staff agreed the parking matter was for the village and not for the APA to consider. Lussi said he was bringing it up for the record.
While the project cited using pervious pavement to help filter stormwater, Lussi suggested that wouldn’t be enough after a large storm. Staff said the pervious pavement, which filters stormwater, could handle 100-year floods.
The project passed committee and later the full board, with Lussi still opposed.
Jerry Delaney, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, said Lussi’s comments on parking and stormwater were “thoughtful” and called them “sleeper issues for the village in the long run.”
North Elba development
The agency unanimously approved an eight-lot subdivision and construction of six single-family homes on Wesvalley Road in Lake Placid.
There are about 3 acres of wetlands on the northern portion of the site. Three neighbors submitted comment letters to APA , some with concerns about the wetlands, wildlife, traffic and housing density. Homestead Development Corp. responded to those comments in multiple letters. It said a traffic study showed there would be no adverse impact, and that stormwater management practices would be put in place.
Zoe Smith, an APA board member, asked if the applicant had considered road salt application and how it might impact the on-site wetland. Korn said the APA did not receive any homeowners association documents about road salt, and generally staff does not look at that.
Ken Lynch, an APA board member, echoed Smith’s sentiments about road salt.
“I think there is a role for the APA,” Lynch added.