Meeting of the Santa Clara Planning Board held on November 24, 2020

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

ABSENT: John LaHart

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. Beth Hall moved to approve the minutes. Mike Ritchie seconded the motion. All members present were in favor. The minutes from the Planning Board meeting on 10-27-20 are approved.

Site Plan Review Application:
APPLICANT: William A. Tice, Jr.
PARCEL ID: 453-3-8-5
LOCATION: 195 Fish Creek Park Rd

This application was tabled at the last meeting because it was incomplete. The fee for the application had not been received, there was no copy of the deed accompanying the application. The Planning Board members also wanted to know the rationale for a second dock and verification that it was not to be used by a second party. The fee, the deed and the explanation for a second dock have now been received. The existing dock is 101.4 sq. ft. The proposed new dock would be 24 ft. long x 4 ft. wide (96 sq. ft.) and is located 25 ft. from the nearest sideline on the opposite side of the property. The combined square footage of the docks is less than the 500 sq. ft. maximum specified in section 7.35 of the Town of Santa Clara Land Use Code. Additionally, the combined width of the docks, (12 ft. 8 in. + 4 ft. = 16 ft. 8 in.) is less than 15% of the 138 ft. shoreline.

Beth Hall moved to grant the application. The motion was seconded by Bill Young. All members present were in favor of the motion. The chair will notify the applicants of the approval of their application

Ethics Issue

The Planning Board received a letter from Planning Board member John Lahart, which he asked be read into the minutes of the Planning Board.

"I have been informed that I am under investigation by the Town of Santa Clara ethics committee. That being said, I do not believe I should participate in any additional planning board meetings while under investigation. I therefore withdraw from any meetings until the investigation is complete and I have been exonerated. I do not wish to embarrass, not only the town, but the planning board, should any additional trumped up charges arise. Thank you for your understanding and let's hope this doesn't last too long. John"

After considerable discussion, all Planning Board members agreed that while it was possible to continue reviewing site plan review applications and commenting on variance applications, taking on major projects such as short-term rental (STR) regulations, updating the Land Use Code to take into consideration commercial development of the water front, and working on the Comprehensive Plan were jobs which required a full complement of Planning Board members to participate. Having only 4 Board members could result in a tie vote that would forestall any progress.

A motion was made by Bill Young that the Planning Board should notify the Ethics Board and the Town Board that a swift resolution to the Ethics Board process will facilitate the ability of the Planning board to address large projects, such as STR regulations, Land Use Code updates for commercial waterfront development and development of a Comprehensive plan for the town. The motion was seconded by Mike Ritchie. There was no further discussion. All planning Board members present at the meeting voted in favor of the motion.

Chair, Scottie Adams will send a copy of the meeting minutes to the Chair of the Ethics Board and the Town Clerk for distribution to Town Board members.

Short Term Rentals (STRs)

The chair reported that she had spoken to the special counsel for land use matters about the STR regulations submitted to him in July. He indicated that the regulations looked reasonable and perhaps the regulations could move forward as regulations outside the Land Use Code while the Comprehensive Plan is being developed. He will review the documents with this idea in mind.

Comprehensive Plan

The Town Board passed a resolution to begin the process of developing a Comprehensive Plan for the Town. The special counsel indicated that the Planning Board will be an integral part of the process, although the Planning Board has not received any communication from the Town Board regarding this matter.

Building Moratorium Resolution

The public hearing on the building moratorium has been postponed until December 10, 2020. The Planning Board awaits further direction from the Town Board concerning this matter.

Marina/ R-C Land Use

The new owners of the marina have submitted an application for a building permit. However, since the application for a building permit is incomplete, a site plan review application has not been submitted. Guy Middleton reported that he had talked to the DEC Regional Permit Administer and it is her opinion is that the Town of Santa Clara would be the lead government agency to coordinate on the marina application and is responsible for the SEQRA. The DEC has jurisdiction over navigable waters. A Temporary Revocable Permit from the DEC would not be required since the lake bottom is owned by marina. The APA has jurisdiction over wetlands and shoreline setbacks., retaining walls and covered boat slips.

There was some discussion about some obvious regulations that need to be updated concerning waterfront development. Section 7.35 specifies all waterfront properties are subject to the regulations listed therein. It would make more sense to specify all residential waterfront properties. Section 7.2, Waterfront Protection would be an appropriate place to include specifications for commercial waterfront development.

No further meetings are scheduled


Beth Hall moved that the meeting be adjourned. Mike Ritchie seconded the motion. All were in favor of the motion. Meeting was adjourned 9:48 AM.


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