TOWN OF SANTA CLARA BOARD MEETINGS
Minutes of a Public Hearing and Regular Monthly Meeting of the Santa Clara Town Board held on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at Saranac Inn, NY Town Hall and via Zoom due to Covid-19, at 6:00 P.M.
Roll as follows for the Regular Monthly Meeting:
- Andrew McGill - Supervisor
- David Perry - Councilman
- Richard Lyon - Councilman
- Marcel "Mickey" Webb - Councilman
- John Murray - Councilman
- Scott LaMay - Superintendent of Highways
- Laurie McGill - Town Clerk
Public Hearing Called to order by Supervisor McGill at 6:00 P.M for the purpose of considering proposed Local Law No. 02 of 2021.
Local Law No. 02 would extend an existing moratorium from June 30, 2021 to December 31, 2021, on commercial development within the R-C 1.3 and R-C 3.2 zoning districts in the Town of Santa Clara for the purpose of allowing time for the Santa Clara Town Board to develop and enact new regulations governing commercial development in those zoning districts.
One letter of opposition was received from Norfolk Law PLLC on behalf of USL Marina LLC. One letter in support was received from the Upper Saranac Lake Association.
May 4, 2021
Town Clerk and Special Committee members
Santa Clara, New York
The Upper Saranac Lake Association along with the Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) would like to submit comments and suggestions as follow up to our previous responses (dated 4/8/2021 & 4/21/21) and meeting that occurred on 4/28/21. We hope that these written interactions assist the Committee throughout the process of revising commercial land use regulations.
The purpose of the Town of Santa Clara moratorium is to define land use codes for commercial properties, as residential codes were not appropriate for commercial application. With that goal in mind we make the following suggestions:
Property boundary setbacks - 25 feet may be reasonable for residential code as Ed LaGree so appropriately pointed out. However, commercial usage and traffic (person, vehicle, boat) will be considerable greater, louder and have a greater impact on privacy than residential usage. Additionally, we assume commercial property acreage size must be larger than most residential property to support commercial usage.
To address these concerns, USLA suggests 50-foot property boundary setbacks and buffers for commercial property.
The committee's suggestion that "non-specific code" for commercial marina dock sizing be adopted:
As you are aware, Upper Saranac Lake covers 8.2 square miles while Lake George covers 44 square miles. Specific regulations governing Lake George marinas are well defined by the LGPC and are an addendum to the NYS DEC regulations and continually approved by the NYS Legislature, provided that the park commission administer such regulations. As Chris Round correctly pointed out, a few Lake George marina docks are larger than the 100-foot length defined in LGPC regulation. These longer docks are either grandfathered or received a variance due to low water depth at the 100-foot mark. When combining dock sizing regulations with navigational impact restrictions it appears to address most situations.
Defining specific regulations assist the public in the understanding of the rules and regulations of the Town. Specific regulations also prevent the public's misperception of possible: subjective or preferential treatment, inappropriate behavior by elected officials, or changes in the application of code due to personal preferences when elected officials change. Specific code would also reduce the workload on Town officials by not having to repeatedly explain the process.
Even though Lake George is considerably larger than Upper Saranac Lake the USLA suggests a closer review of LGPC's regulations and code as the template for TSC marina code. LGPC appears to have addressed a number of the TSC committee's marina issues and concerns including dock sizing and the number of docks permitted based on lake frontage.
USLA would like to commend the TSC Committee for its progress to date and due diligence during this review process. The volume of material and research being reviewed is considerable and time consuming. As is the tracking, inventorying and distribution required to fulfill the various FOIL requests. USLA understands the task being undertaken and supports the Town Board's recommendation to extend the Moratorium.
We hope that our comments and suggestions continue to be helpful.
Thank you again for the opportunity to participate. If you have any questions regarding these comments please let us know.
Larry Koch, President, USLA and Dave Powalyk, Vice President, USLA
CC: USLA Governmental Affairs Committee Guy Middleton
Re: Proposed Extension of Moratorium (Local Law No. 20f2021) Our Client: USL Marina, LLC Dear Honorable Members of the Santa Clara Town Board:
As you may be aware, I am the attorney for USL Marina, LLC (hereinafter referred to as "USL Marina"). I write this letter to you on its behalf to express its opposition to proposed Local Law No. 02 of2021, A Local Law Extending the Moratorium On Commercial Development In the R- C-1.3 and R-C-3.2 Zoning Districts of the Town of Santa Clara (hereinafter referred to as the "Proposed Moratorium Extension Law"). This proposed law seeks to extend the moratorium on development in zoning districts R-C-1.3 and R-C-2.3 until December 31, 2021. The current moratorium has an expiration date of June 30, 2021. As USL Marina has made clear in its previous letters to the Town Board opposing the adoption of the moratorium law currently in effect, a moratorium is a significant hardship on USL Marina and its ability to use its property, and to make the improvements necessary for the operation of a safe, fully functional, and economically sustainable marina. The Proposed Moratorium Extension Law provides that the need for the extension is due to the Special Committee's inability to prepare regulations to recommend to the Town Board by the initial moratorium expiration date of June 30, 2021. We can certainly agree that the Special Committee has the inability to expeditiously and efficiently prepare proposed regulations for commercial marinas. The Proposed Moratorium Extension Law also states the number of times the Special Committee has met over the past few months, and the frequency of Special Committee meetings. However, it fails to disclose the progress, or lack thereof, the Special Committee has made towards preparing these proposed regulations. Despite having held four meetings, the proceedings of the Special Committee have been extremely inefficient, and, in my opinion, have accomplished little. Some of the Special Committee members appear to be ill-prepared for the meeting and offer little to no meaningful input to assist the Chazen Companies in developing proposed regulations for commercial marinas. This causes delay in the process. Naturally, USL Marina is concerned that the Proposed Moratorium Extension Law will cause more delay and award the ineptness of the Special Committee. Additionally, the Proposed Moratorium Extension Law contains no certain termination date. Rather, it states that the Town Board "extends the moratorium ... for a period of approximately six months," that "the moratorium may be terminated earlier than December 31, 2021," and that the Town Board may extend the moratorium as it sees fit. (Emphasis added). In other words, the moratorium will be in effect as long as it takes the Special Committee to prepare proposed regulations and as long as the Town Board desires, whether the Special Committee accomplishes its task or not. Continued extension at the whim of the Town Board is unlawful. A moratorium must have a time certain when it will expire. See N.Y.S. Department of State, Division of Local Services, Land Use Moratoria (Reprinted 2013). The current moratorium law and the Proposed Moratorium Extension Law both violate, or will violate, as the case may be, this rule. Furthermore, the Town Board should note that an unreasonable delay by the Town in completing the zoning changes may render extensions of the moratorium unconstitutional. See Mitchel v. Kemp, 176 AD.2d 859 (1991); Matter of Laurel Realty, LLCv. Planning Bd. of Town of Kent, 40 A.D.3d 857 (2d Dep't 2006). USL Marina would also like to object to and point out that the Proposed Moratorium Extension Law mischaracterizes the delegated role of the Special Committee and the nature of the regulations it is working towards drafting. The proposed extension law provides that "[t]he Town Board created a Special Committee to draft regulations governing commercial development . . ." By doing so, it expands the scope of the original zoning regulations the Town Board ordered to be developed. The Town Board created the Special Committee to work with the Chazen Companies specifically on the development of commercial marina regulations - nothing more. See Minutes of the Public Hearing, Organization Meeting and a Regular Monthly Meeting of the Santa Clara Town Board held on January 14,2021. On the same date, the Town Board approved Resolution No. 02, entitled Resolution Approving Proposal 0/ the Chazen Companies to Provide the Town with Planning and Zoning Services For Development 0/ Marina Regulations. (Emphasis added.) See Minutes of the Public Hearing, Organization Meeting and a Regular Monthly Meeting of the Santa Clara Town Board held on January 14,2021. The resolution's title speaks for itself. The Chazen Companies has only been retained for the development of commercial marina regulations. Also, each and every notice of the public Special Committee meetings have referred to it as the "Town of Santa Clara's Special Committee for development of commercial marina regulations." See Notice of Public Meeting for meetings held on February 18,2021, March 31, 2021, Apri114, 2021, April 28, 2021, and for the upcoming meeting to be held on May 19,2021. It is evident, with the proposed language in the Proposed Moratorium Extension Law, the Town retroactively is attempting to expand the purpose of a moratorium to avoid being accused of and escape liability for singling out USL Marina and its marina operation. As much as the Town would now like to portray its endeavor to develop commercial marina regulations as one that does not explicitly target newcomer USL Marina and its marina property which is the only commercial marina in the zoning districts at issue, it is futile and it is too late.
For all the foregoing reasons, USL Marina strongly opposes the Proposed Moratorium Extension Law. Accordingly, on behalf of USL Marina, I request that the Proposed Moratorium Extension Law be rejected by the Town Board and not adopted.
Please be advised that nothing in this letter is intended to waive any rights, legal arguments, claims, or defenses of USL Marina, and it hereby reserves the same.
cc: Michael J. Hill, Esq. (via email only)
Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hafner, LLC
Glens Falls, New York 12801
Michael Damp (via email only)
All those wishing to make oral or written comments having been heard, a motion was made by Mickey Webb, seconded by John Murray to continue the Public Hearing on Proposed Local Law 02-2021 on June 17, 2021 before the regular monthly meeting. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Regular board meeting called to order by Supervisor McGill at 6:15 P.M.
Motion by John Murray, seconded by Mickey Webb to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting. All members voting Aye. Motion carried. Motion by John Murray, seconded by Mickey Webb to accept the minutes. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Update on Marina Regulations - Special Counsel Mike Hill reported that the Special Committee on Marina Regulations continues to meet and are trying to wrap up the process as soon as possible. Chazen Corp. is working on drafts of the proposed regulations and will have them for the next Special Committee meeting May 19th.
Update on the Sale of Town Garage in the Hamlet - The garage has been sold to 80K Garage LLC as of May 12, 2021.
Regular Monthly meeting for June 2021 will be the third Thursday, June 17, 2021 immediately following the Public Hearing on proposed Local Law 02-2021 that begins at 6:00 P.M.
John LaHart requested under FOIL copies of some Town documents.
Good of the Town
Supervisor McGill reported that Ed LaGree, the Town's Code Enforcement Officer is retiring. The Town is actively looking for a qualified replacement. The State of New York has opened up the grant process again. The grant opportunities will be researched to see if one is available to apply for to build a salt shed.
John Murray inquired about the plowing contract for the Hamlet with the Town of Waverly. It was a one year contract and will expire September 30th. The Board advised John to reach out to Waverly's Town Supervisor about renewing the contract.
Highway Superintendent Scott LaMay reported that all the Town roads have been swept. All the Town trucks have been sprayed with undercoating by Pro Fleetcare and will be going in for their yearly service. The dirt roads will be graded as soon as the Franklin County brings up the grader. The Franklin County Highway Superintendent wants to know if the Town wanted to buy the grader from the County. Road sand will start to be hauled around the first of June. Sand prices went up .25 cents to $5.75 a ton. The highway department will be putting up around $10,000.00 worth of sand. No word on salt prices yet. The single axel truck with plow gear has been ordered. No word yet from New York State on how much CHIPS money will be received this year.
Motion by Mickey Webb, seconded by Rick Lyon to go into Executive Session at 6:36 P.M. to discuss pending litigation with Town Counsel. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Motion by Mickey Webb, seconded by Rick Lyon to return from Executive Session at 7:23 P.M. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
General Fund vouchers 82 to 98 in the amount of $6,170.82 and Highway Fund vouchers No. 32 to 35 in the amount of $980.42 were audited by the Board. Motion by Mickey Webb seconded by Rick Lyon to approve vouchers and pay audited vouchers. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.
Motion by Mickey Webb, seconded by Rick Lyon to go into Executive Session at 6:15 P.M.
Motion to adjourn at 7:25 P.M. made by Dave Perry, seconded by Rick Lyon. All members voting Aye. Motion carried.