Lake George Planning Board approves six-story Marriott hotel
Post-Star (Glen Falls, NY), 2014-02-21
Feb. 21--LAKE GEORGE -- A divided village Planning Board on Wednesday narrowly approved the controversial and long-debated Marriott Courtyard project slated for the west side of Canada Street.
The proposed six-story hotel and conference center is the first project that has garnered village approval since the Village Board last year approved a new zoning district that allows for buildings of up to six stories.
"It's a project we worked on and worked on and I think they met all of our concerns," Planning Board Chairman Robert Mastrantoni said prior to Wednesday night's vote on the site plan for the project.
Mastrantoni and Planning Board members Dean Howland and Chuck Luke voted in favor of the project, while Patricia Dow and Dan Wolfield, who had voiced numerous concerns about the building's size and design, dissented.
This week's vote on the site plan for the hotel project echoed a vote by the same board last week, which approved in a 3-2 vote a special use permit for the project.
Local developer Dave Kenny is spearheading the 120-room hotel project, which is planned for the west side of Canada Street, between Amherst Street and Lake George Junior-Senior High School.
Kenny has proposed retail and restaurant space at street level on Canada Street, with banquet and conference space and 120 guest rooms above it.
The project still needs approval from the Adirondack Park Agency before it can move forward.
The Planning Board has been considering the project for months -- holding a series of workshops with developers in the fall, which prompted the building's exterior appearance to change substantially from the first design.
Planning Board members requested a more "Adirondack" appearance to the building, and the board started its more formal review of the project last month. Last week's meeting featured a lengthy public hearing where a number of project opponents spoke out against the new hotel.
Dow on Wednesday said she cast her vote against the project because she was concerned more information was needed to determine the environmental impact of the development, and because she doesn't think the design fully complies with the village's architectural regulations.
Among the weightier concerns raised recently about the project was how it will affect the village's wastewater treatment plant, which is in the midst of a multi-phase improvement project that aims to increase efficiency, increase capacity and fix some of the issues that have plagued the plant.
Village Public Works Superintendent Dave Harrington assured the board Wednesday the plant can accommodate the additional flow from the hotel, and said he didn't anticipate a significant worsening of the existing nitrate problem at the plant because of the additional development.
The village is now undertaking a $2.2 million improvement project at the treatment plant, which is expected to be completed by June. The second phase, which Harrington estimated could cost another $2 million, would likely start next year and "hopefully remove all our nitrate problems."
The plant has exceeded state standards for nitrate levels in the past, and some environmental leaders and board members questioned whether the issues would worsen in the interim with increased development. Harrington said he didn't expect the hotel would significantly exacerbate the existing nitrate problems.
"The village is committed to resolving our nitrates up there so we can move forward with development," Harrington said.
It's estimated that when full, the Marriott project would contribute up to 20,000 gallons of flow to the village's plant daily. But the net increase to the plant from the hotel is likely closer to 10,000 gallons because the hotel will replace existing restaurants that collectively contribute up to 10,000 gallons of flow.
Even with the additional flow from the project, the plant would be far from reaching capacity, and both the village and the town of Lake George have substantially decreased flows to the plant recently with slip-lining the sewer system and patching areas where there was groundwater infiltration, village officials said.
The hotel is considered a Class A regional project by the Adirondack Park Agency, which must still approve the project before if can move forward.
As of this week, the Marriott project was in the pre-application phase with the Adirondack Park Agency. The developers met with the APA to discuss visual analysis for the project, APA spokesman Keith McKeever said.
"At this point we're in the very preliminary stages with the applicant," McKeever said.
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