Meeting of the Santa Clara Planning Board held on September 07, 2021

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, Mike Damp, Chuck and Joan Bechtel and Dave Powalyk.

ABSENT: Beth Hall (medical leave)

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. Mike Ritchie seconded the motion. All members were in favor. The minutes from the Planning Board meeting on 08-31-2021 are approved. The chair will provide the Town Clerk with a copy of these meeting minutes for posting in the Town website after the draft is approved by the Board members.

The main objective for the meeting today is to finalize the amendments to the Land Use Code to be submitted to the Town Board before their next meeting on September 15, 2021. The chair provided Planning Board members with the latest draft of the proposed Land Use Code amendments.

Marina regulations, 7.36 E Appeals

At the previous Planning Board meeting, members 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. The actual text was reviewed for accuracy and deemed final.

Marina regulations, 7.36 B General Standards

Marina regulations were reviewed. Language concerning sideline setbacks, sanitary facilities, maintenance programs, invasive species control, a visual impact plan that does not allow covered slips, petroleum sales, boat cleaning areas, stormwater pollution prevention, disallowing off dock mooring, quick launch vertical storage, and personal watercraft, are now listed as general requirements. The only item left in special provisions is cacilities for the disposal of sanitary wastes from vessels with on-board sanitary equipment.

Marina regulations, 7.36 D Commercial Docks & Wharfs

General Guidelines were added to give the Planning Board guidance in evaluating special use permits for commercial marinas.

1. Maximum dock length and number of docks shall be determined by the Planning Board after considering
a. Items A through C above and the General Guidelines listed below in Section D5.c

Section D5
a. Dock design should be limited to 50 ft in width including all lateral projections.
b. All lateral projections should be limited to 22 ft.
c. All docks, wharfs and moorings should extend no more than 20% of the width of waterbody, OR 200 ft, whichever is most restrictive.
d. All floating docks shall include encapsulated flotation devices.

The numbers in Section D5 were the result of research of the dimensions of all other commercial docks in the Tri-Lakes area and a "dock position evaluation within the Landscape of a marina" provided by North Country Ecological Services. "in all of our marina projects in which we assessed the environmental impacts of the proposed project, where an APA or DEC permit was required, these agencies requested new docks be positioned out in deeper water where the impacts on shallow water habitat would be eliminated or at least minimized." The experience of the Planning Board in approving new boathouses and docks cofirms the DEC interest in preserving Shoreline Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) and fishery habitat.

Other Land Use code amendments

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.

Further discussion on carrying capacity of the lake was held. Again, it was agreed that a carrying capacity study is desirable. It may be possible that a joint effort by the USF/USLA and the town could be pursued. It is also possible that the DEC will conduct such a study as part of their UMP for Fish Creek Park. It was pointed out that it is likely that many of the users renting boat slips at the USL marina would be local people who already trailer their boat to the USL boat launch, so the net increase in boats would not be as great as if all slips were occupied by rental boats.

One further amendment was approved. Because the DEC is telling boat/dock builders that they should locate their structures 3 feet from shore because of SAV issues, it was decided to amend the length that a dock can extend from the shoreline to 33 feet to satisfy this requirement without having to force new boathouse/dock to make their structures smaller.

The chair will provide Planning Board members with a final draft of the proposed amendments based on discussions from this meeting. After Planning Board approval, the document will be sent to the Town Clerk for dispersal to the Town Board members and legal counsel.

Mike Ritchie moved that the meeting be adjourned. Bill Young seconded the motion. All were in favor of the motion. Meeting was adjourned 9:45 AM.


Next Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled 9 AM for July 7, 2021.

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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5359 State Route 30  ·  Saranac Lake, NY 12983
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