Meeting of the Santa Clara Planning Board held on August 31, 2021

MEMBERS PRESENT: Board Members: Scottie Adams, Beth Hall, Mike Ritchie, Bill Young, John LaHart, and CEO, Todd David. Also present were Upper Saranac Lake Manager, Guy Middleton and a variety of other attendees.

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

The first order of business was to approve the minutes of the previous meeting which all received by email. John LaHart moved to approve the minutes. Beth Hall seconded the motion. All members were in favor. The minutes from the Planning Board meeting on 08-16-2021 are approved.

Chair, Scottie Adams clarified the misconception that Upper Saranac Lake Manager, Guy Middleton was an ad hoc member of the Planning Board for all matters. It was explained that Mr. Middleton was asked to be an ad hoc member for the single purpose of assisting in data collection on the Short-term rental issue. He has never been a participant for any other issues, including anything to do with the development of marina regulations, other than his usual participation as a member of the audience. In fact, Mr. Middleton was not even present at the Planning Board meetings on June 28 and July 7 at which the Planning Board worked on marina regulations, Special use permits and other amendments to the Land Use Code.


The next order of business was to finalize the STR regulations for presentation to the Town Board. The chair presented the planning board members with a final document which incorporated the Lake Placid - Town of North Elba revisions. Basically, the amendments concern the minor matter of how permits and regulations are to be posted in the rental unit. Two other amendments mandate that the Enforcement Officer has to have express permission from the owner for a limited inspection the property.

Current restrictions on rental properties were reviewed to ascertain if they were appropriate to some of the current issues with residences being used for commercial. Short-Term Rental Standards include:

8. No weddings, corporate events or commercial functions are allowed.

9. The maximum number of occupants together with any of their visitors and guests between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm shall be limited to no more than twice the maximum occupancy as established by this Section.

10. Quiet hours are 10 PM - 8 AM

Occupancy and parking requirements are defined:

1. Occupancy: The maximum number of Occupants for each Short-Term Rental unit shall be the most restrictive of the following:

a. Maximum occupancy shall be calculated as 2 times the number of bedrooms that are in compliance with New York State Building Code plus 2 additional occupants.

b. Maximum occupancy for a studio apartment, such as above a garage, shall be 2 occupants for the first 220 sq. ft. with 1 additional occupant for each additional 100 sq. ft. of living space.

c. Maximum capacity of the septic system for the property.

2. Parking: The maximum number of motor vehicles allowed for a Short-Term Rental unit shall be one (1) vehicle per bedroom. The property must have sufficient off-road parking spaces to accommodate the number of vehicles allowed pursuant to this Section. Short Term Rental tenants and any guests shall park in the off-road parking spaces and shall not park on the public or private road.

Beth Hall brought up the subject of limiting STRS to specific periods of time to give neighbors a rental free period of time to enjoy their property. The process of enacting these regulations includes their review by the Town Board and the legal counsel and a public hearing - all opportunities for amendments. John LaHart made a motion to submit the STR regulations to the Town Board as they stand so that the process can move forward. The motion was seconded by Mike Ritchie. All board members voted in favor of the motion. The chair will send the amended STR regulations to the Town Clerk with an explanatory email for dispersal to Town Board members and legal counsel.

Land Use code amendments, Marina regulations and Special Use Permit (SUP)

Discussion centered on whether to include marina as a secondary use in the GR district. Although there are multiple docks at Donaldson's campsite area which could be considered a mini-marina, they are classified as pre-existing. Any expansion could be considered under a variance. The general consensus was to leave the land code as it currently exists to eliminate the possibility of a marina being developed on the extensive shoreline of the GR district land on Fish Creek Pond and Upper Saranac. Although all the docks on the property are pre-existing perhaps to regulate dock/boathouse length size in this district for the future, Section 7.35 could be amended to read

7.35 Boathouses, Docks, Decks, Wharves and Piers For every residential and GR waterfront lot:

Discussion followed on amendments made to marina regulations and Special Use Permit by Board members.

After discussion, language specifying invasive species control, sideline setbacks, stormwater pollution prevention, off dock mooring, quick launch vertical storage were added as general requirements.

Limitations on dock sizes and lengths were scrutinized next. Limiting length by the width of the waterbody, specific lengths or total area of dock space were all discussed. It was pointed out that SAV issues should be considered. No specific details were agreed upon. The consensus was that the Board would like data on other dock sizes in the Tri- Lakes area before coming to any final conclusions. Mike Damp kindly volunteered to provide this information to the Planning Board before their next meeting.

Further discussion on carrying capacity of the lake was held. Again, it was agreed that a carrying capacity study is desirable. Perhaps some sort of partnership is possible to accomplish this goal.

The last topic of discussion was concerning the appeal of any decision in Special Use Permits. Currently, appeals go back to the Planning Board and not to the Variance Board. It was agreed that the Planning Board should not be the appeal board. Appeals should go to the Variance Board as with other appeal cases. All variances are reviewed by the Planning Board, so their input is part of the process. Further appeals can be made to the Town Board.

Conclusion: more data is needed to develop specific guidelines on dock numbers, lengths, etc. The revised draft document of the Amendments to the Land Use Code were requested to be completed by the next Town Board meeting, which is September 15th. The next Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 9 AM for Tuesday, September 7, 2021. Chair, Scottie Adams will provide the Town Clerk with a copy of these meeting minutes from 08-31-2021 for posting in the Town website after the draft is approved by the Board members. She will provide Planning Board members with revised amendments based on discussions from this meeting. She will also forward any additional information on dock lengths and areas.

Mike Ritchie moved that the meeting be adjourned. John LaHart seconded the motion. All were in favor of the motion. Meeting was adjourned 10:30 AM.


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