Meeting of the Santa Clara Planning Board held on October 27, 2020

PRESENT: Board Members: Scottie Adams, John LaHart, Mike Ritchie, Beth Hall, 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 10:00 AM

The items on the agenda were a variance application review, a site plan review application, a STR update and the recent news on the Town's Comprehensive Plan and how it relates to any STR regulations, the recently purchased marina and updating of the Land Use Code.

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 were in favor. The minutes from the Planning Board meeting on 09-15-20 are approved.

Variance Application:
APPLICANT: Brian Kelahan and Collen Conner
PARCEL ID: 442.2-9-13.200
ADDRESS: 20 Back Bay Rd, USL

The applicants propose a side line setback variance from 25 ft. to 10 ft. for the installation of a small storage shed. The property from which the side line variance is needed belongs to the BackBay Association and therefore it is unlikely a residence will ever be present on this adjoining property. John LaHart made a motion to recommend to the Variance board that the Planning Board has no objection to this variance. The motion was seconded by Bill Young. All voted in favor, Motion carried. The chair will relay the recommendation by email to the Variance Board before their meeting tonight.

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

This application is a request to build a second dock on the waterfront property for docking a pontoon boat. The application shows a property with 138 ft. of waterfront on the Fish Creek access to Upper Saranac Lake. There is currently a dock on the property built circa 1970's which has one piece projecting into the water that is 26 ft. long x 3 ft. wide. (78 sq. ft.) There is a horizontal piece running parallel to the shore which is 12 ft. 8" x 8 ft. (101.4 sq. ft.). The existing dock is ~ 20 ft. from the sideline of the adjacent property. 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. There is no explanation of why a second dock is needed. The application incorrectly states that the Current Use is vacant land. There is a camp and a garage on the property. The fee for the application has not been received and there is no copy of the deed accompanying the application.

After discussion, John LaHart moved to table the application until such time as the application is complete. The motion was seconded by Beth Hall. All members were in favor of the motion. The application will be tabled until further documentation and payment is received.

The chair will notify the applicants of the status of their application.

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 he had a few "tweaks" to the document. However, he is concerned about legal challenges to any new regulations and that a Comprehensive Plan for the Town would be essential in order to provide a legal framework for the regulations. If a Comprehensive Plan does not exist, then one must be developed in order to proceed. Any existing plan needs to be updated. A Comprehensive Plan is a local government's guide to planning physical, social and economic development. Plans provide a rational basis for local land use decisions with a twenty-year vision for future planning and community decisions. While the Comprehensive Plan does not dictate where or when development occurs, it does improve the amount and quality of information for communication with and between jurisdictions, which may lead to more informed decisions.

The decision to develop or update a Comprehensive Plan is a decision for the Town Board, but the Planning Board will be an integral part of the process. Planning board members should investigate Comprehensive Plans from Towns similar to the Town of Santa Clara and share their information with other Board members by email.

Building Moratorium Resolution

The public hearing on the building moratorium has been postponed until November 12, 2020. Topics for the next Planning board meeting will depend on town Board actions.

Marina/ R-C Land Use

The chair reported on a meeting held between town officials and representatives from the marina which has been recently purchased. Preliminary plans have been submitted to the CEO. The planning board will generate a list of questions they would like to see addressed. These questions will be relayed via the CEO to the appropriate parties. The Planning Board will work on updating the Land Use code for R-C and GR areas to comply with the Comprehensive Plan.


The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 23, 2020 at 9AM
John LaHart moved that the meeting be adjourned. Mike Ritchie seconded the motion. All were in favor of the motion. Meeting was adjourned 11:02 AM.


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