Meeting of the Santa Clara Planning Board held on April 20, 2021

PRESENT: Board Members: Scottie Adams, John LaHart, Beth Hall, Mike Ritchie, Bill Young and Code Enforcement Officer, Ed Lagree. Also present was Upper Saranac Lake Manager, Guy Middleton.

The meeting was called to order by Chair, Scottie Adams at 9:00 AM.

Variance Application:
APPLICANT: Michael and Maria Gsell
PARCEL ID: 474.-1-8.100
LOCATION: 733 Bartlett Carry Road, USL

The applicants have applied for a variance for an extension from the shoreline from 30 ft. to 39 ft. to allow for a 9 ft. long x 6 ft. wide connector to the proposed "boathouse" and dock. The applicants originally submitted a site plan review which was reviewed and denied because the dock and "boathouse" extended more than 30 ft. from the shoreline and the total square footage of the dock space and the total square footage of the combined dock and "boathouse" exceeded the town of Santa Clara Land Use Code Section 7.35. A revised plan was submitted by the owners showing updated plans from Dock Doctors. A letter of explanation was received from the Dock Doctors explaining the need for the walkway because of shallow water. In the revised plans, the covered area "boathouse" is reported as 528 sq. ft., the uncovered dock area as 338 sq. ft. for a combined total of 866 sq. ft. All parameters reported are within the maximum allowed by Section 7.35. However, the addition of the 9 ft x 6 ft. ramp, extends the "boathouse" and dock to 39 ft. from the shoreline and when the ramp is added to the dock area, the total area of dock and "boathouse" combined exceeds the total square footage allowed in Section 7.35. Therefore, technically 2 variances would be needed- one for length and one for total square footage.

After discussion, it was the opinion of a majority of the Planning Board members that many other boat owners on Upper Saranac Lake have dealt with the shallow water situation and that to grant this variance would be setting an improper precedent. Beth Hall moved that this opinion be reported to the Variance Board. Mike Ritchie seconded the motion. The motion was approved by all members of the Board. The chair will report these findings to the Variance Board.

Short Term Rentals (STRs)

The Planning Board members discussed the revised STR regulations received from the Town Special Counsel for Zoning. Because it was indicated that a local Law which applied to the whole town would be appropriate, a section was amended under Article 1, Purpose and Intent: Authority to specify "This Local Law shall apply throughout the Town of Santa Clara for any property without a Temporary Residence Permit from the New York State Department of Health" This amendment would allow the commercial establishments within the town to be exempt from these regulations, because these they are already well regulated by the Department of Health. Defining quiet hours and noise levels was discussed and whether types of events should be regulated. It was agreed that that the owner of the short-term rental property is responsible for the actions of their tenants. A strategy to regulate future STRs was discussed. The good Neighbor pamphlet was reviewed to ensure it covered such topics as emergency contacts, noise, campfires, dog control and invasive species control. Recommending the use of the professional company, Host Compliance, to implement the regulations was considered. Using a professional company would limit the extra work load for the Chief Enforcement Officer and the Town Clerk. Previous enquiries to the Town of North Elba about their experience with this company were positive. Fee schedules for permits were revised to ensure that STR regulations would not be a financial burden on the Town. The chair will insert revisions into the STR regulations, Good Neighbor Policy pamphlet and Permit Forms and send out for review to the Planning Board members. She will also send to the special counsel for his input. Hopefully, the Town Board can be updated on the STR process at their next Board meeting on May 8, 2021.

Special Committee

Chair, Scottie Adams reported that the third meeting of the special committee to work with the Chazen Corporation to design marina regulations for the Town was held by Zoom on April 14, 2021. Progress is being made. The next Zoom meeting is scheduled for April 28, 2021.

Next Meeting

TBD dependent on counsel replies to STR regulation suggestions made by the Planning Board.


Mike Ritchie moved that the meeting be adjourned. Bill Young seconded the motion. All were in favor of the motion. Meeting was adjourned 10:15 AM.


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Town Of Santa Clara
5359 State Route 30  ·  Saranac Lake, NY 12983
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