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condo project approved
KIM SMITH DEDAM
The 31-unit project arrived at the Planning Board table last June after Lane Hospitality, which operates the Hilton, met with concerned residents in a series of strategy sessions.
What began as a five-story, 46-unit mega-complex was tempered back to 31 units in 2 1/2 stories.
The last few units were cut from the plan late last summer amid questions of overall density -- the number of beds allowed on Hilton property.
Rob Grant, who lives on Signal Hill directly behind where the condo project will go, helped raise public awareness that turned to outcry and stifled the first megaplan.
After the Review Board vote Wednesday night, he said he appreciated the developer's efforts to work with the community.
"I think when everything is said and done, they worked hard to reach a compromise. It takes time to determine trust and whether or not what people are saying is really what they are going to do."
Grant said the community planning sessions are a good precedent.
"It was a very unique process, unusual for a big corporation like Lane Hospitality. It may provide a template for future developers coming into Lake Placid."
While growth is good for the economy, Grant said, the village resort has to plan ahead of its Zoning Board.
"If we're not careful, we will very subtly change the character of who we are."
The new condominiums will be built where the Lakeview strip motel, circa 1960, sits at the intersection of Main Street and Saranac Avenue.
They will have 62,150 square feet of floor space total, plus 19,612 square feet of underground parking.
"There will be some view loss from some rooms at the Summit Hotel," the Review Board draft resolution said. "But the project's building height is in compliance with, and in fact several feet less than, the 30-foot height requirement."
Lake Placid attorney Matthew Norfolk represents the Summit Hotel, which has considered taking legal action to prevent any loss of its view of Mirror Lake.The Summit recently made a significant investment, adding a glass-front restaurant that overlooks the lake.
Norfolk said he was waiting to read the final version of the Review Board resolution.
"We will determine then how to proceed, if at all."
The hotel expansion will begin next spring with demolition of the strip-motel property.
In all, three properties on Main Street will be torn down at about the same time: the Olympic Regional Development Authority conference center; the Church of the Nazarene, to make room for the Adirondack Museum; and the Hilton Lakeview.
By REBECCA STEFFAN, Enterprise Staff Writer
LAKE PLACID An audience of about 50 community members shared their thoughts on the Lake Placid Hiltons plan for a 31-unit condominium complex at a public hearing Wednesday night.
Ranging from questions concerning viewsheds to parking, Bill DeForest of Lane Hospitality, the Hiltons managing company, architect Dave Schlosser and consultant Ed Garrigan answered almost every question posed to them.
Schlosser told the Lake Placid/North Elba Joint Review Board that the project requires no variances and measures just over 39 feet in height, using state Adirondack Park Agency standards. He added that it reaches to just below 30 feet when measured using the Land Use Code requirements, which measures from the midpoint of the roof to the average grade of the ground.
The entire plan for the condominium complex spans 62,000 square feet, and includes a 40-car parking garage and 14 additional spaces throughout the 2.88-acre property.
Pat Grant, an adjoining property owner to the project, said she is concerned with the intended use of the grass roof terrace above the parking garage.
I want to know if there are conditions or stipulations on what can be done on this property, Grant said of the 12,000-square-foot roof.
DeForest said there will be a small patio area on the roof, but that noise levels from guests will be at a minimum.
Youre not going to have a cocktail party where you cant see the lake, JRB member Horst Weber said.
Other Lake Placid residents questioned the viewshed impacts from Saranac Avenue and the Summit Hotel.
think the view is still restricted, Barry Press said.
The proposed complex would extend further toward Saranac Avenue before it intersects with Main Street than the current Lakeview Motel, something Press said he opposes.
I will object to this project as long as the building blocks the view, Press said.
David Balestrini, a dentist who has an office just behind the Hiltons main hotel building on Saranac Avenue, asked how traffic would be directed around the condominium.
Schlosser said there would be access from Swiss and Saranac avenues.
Nirmal Kumar, owner of the Summit Hotel that sits just behind the Lakeside Motel, said almost 30 of her hotel rooms that face the lake will now have a view of the condominiums rooftop, not the lake. Kumar said she feels the view impact will cause her to lose millions of dollars in business.
In light of Kumars request, the board decided to do an on-site visit at the Summit to assess the view impact of the condominium complex.
DeForest said he doesnt know how much the units will be priced at yet, although he did say some could cost more than $1 million. He added that the majority would be well under that price.
The building would be heated with propane fuel, Schlosser said, cutting the current cost of heating the Lakeside Motel with electric heat, drastically.
JRB Chairman Bill Hurley adjourned the public hearing in the interest of time and directed additional comments to be written and sent to the code enforcement office at the North Elba Town Hall.
The Hilton project is scheduled to be back on the JRBs agenda at their next meeting Sept. 19 at the North Elba Town Hall.
The public will have a chance next month to weigh in on the Hilton Lake Placid Resort's proposed expansion.
That's because the North Elba/Lake Placid Joint Review Board resolved Wednesday to send the project to public hearing.
Lane Hospitality, the Chicago-based owner of the property, has proposed adding 31 additional condominium units in an expansion they hope will be ready by 2009. The plans had originally called for as many as 49 units to be added, but that brought strong objections from many neighbors in the Signal Hill area and the project has since been scaled back.
The real estate group has also recently revised the parking plan to include an enclosed structure with details unveiled to the planning board Wednesday evening. Board Chairman Bill Hurley told the architects that if they can get their revised plans in 10 days before the next scheduled meeting, a public hearing can be held on September 5. The hearing is required before anything is approved by the joint review board.
The architects said it would be done. Our preference would be to move it forward, architect David Schlosser told the board.
On another front, the Adirondack Park Agency has yet to rule whether it has jurisdiction over the project. APA jurisdiction depends on several factors, most notably how the height of the structures are measured; there are concerns that some of the loft units may exceed a height limit.
The architects reportedly submitted a request for jurisdictional review in late June, but have yet to receive word from the APA.
While some members of the review board were initially reluctant to move the project to a public hearing, by the end of the meeting there was consensus that enough information existed to begin the process. If more changes are made or all the designs are not ready for the first hearing, there is nothing to prevent holding additional hearings, Hurley noted.
There's a substantial amount of information here, said vice-chair Olga Krone. If the public has any concerns, they have enough to look at.
comments can be made either at the public hearing, scheduled for September 5 at
7 p.m. in the North Elba Town Hall in Lake Placid or submitted in written form.
Hurley said sometimes written comments are
Originally constructed in the early 1960s, the Hilton hotel complex was last expanded in 1979 in anticipation of the 1980 Winter Olympics.
- Jacob Resneck
June 8th 2007
The Review Board also heard a formal presentation from Lane Hospitality Group about the proposed Lake Placid Hilton Resort condominium project to replace an existing motel structure at the corner of Mirror Lake Drive and Saranac Avenue.
Lane Hospitality President Bill DeForrest recapped efforts of recent months spent working on a plan with neighbors to minimize intrusion on their view sheds.
David Schlosser, partner with Schopfer Architects, described the 35-unit condominium project in detail, saying the project does not require any variance from village zoning code.
There is, however, going to be a density conversation, he said, ascertaining whether the total acreage as measured is enough to accommodate the number of units and "pillows" -- people who stay in them.
The density questions may earn Adirondack Park Agency jurisdiction in the permitting process, Schlosser said.
A group of adjoining landowners have hired attorney Thomas Ulasewicz of Ulasewicz, Melewski and Greenwood in Saratoga Springs to investigate the density matter via legal channels.
According to fact-finding paperwork filed May 30, acreage requirements used to determine the number of units and bedrooms for the project appear illegal.
Planning Board members appreciated the legwork Lane Hospitality and its architects have done in planning to build in the context of a residential area.
"The impact is not as severe as the original design you brought to us," Weber said. "Obviously, the perfect idea would be no building at all, but that's not going to happen."
Hurley suggested architects eliminate all acreage calculations made with measurements to the middle of the street, but the Review Board could not take further action.
"We're still awaiting APA decision whether or not they have jurisdiction," Hurley said.
The Lake Placid Hilton Resort plans to unveil a design concept for a new complex at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 25 at the Hilton Hotel.
Hiltons managing company, Lane Hospitality, went back to the drawing board
after the original design for a five-story condominium complex was met with public
outcry. The complex would be located at the site of the Lakeview Hotel on Mirror
The hotels managing company Lane Hospitality met with swift public backlash in November after initially proposing a five-story, 46-unit condominium complex that opponents claimed would all but destroy the character of the Signal Hill neighborhood, which sits above the Lake View building, and alter the charm of Lake Placids Main Street.
Those concerns prompted Lane Hospitality to withdraw the plans less than a month later, and the groups architects have been at the drawing board since then.
David Schlosser, with Schopfer Architects in Syracuse, presented a scaled back proposal that calls for a clustered and staggered building set-up that is one-to-three stories high and comprises 37 condominium units. The current Lake View building would be demolished as part of the plan, as well.
Were dealing with clusters of building rather than a mass building, Schlosser said. Staggered and stepped units help break the linear quality.
In essence, he said, having a design that varies its features should help reduce impacts on the views from the Signal Hill neighborhood and also allow the hotel to maximize the space and potential for its visitors.
Two units will also have a loft feature to further distinguish the building, he said.
At its highest point, the building would be slightly taller than 39 feet, keeping it within state Adirondack Park Agency height restrictions, while other parts of the building will range from 23 to 33 feet in height.
The view from the home of Rob and Pat Grant, who organized a Web site and circulated petitions opposing the initial project, still stands to be impacted, but Schlosser said 50 percent of the lake views and all of the mountain views from the Grants deck will remain intact.
Other visual simulations provided by Schlosser showed that the view of Mirror Lake coming down Saranac Avenue toward Main Street will also be impacted.
Before moving ahead, other residents from the Signal Hill neighborhood requested similar studies to that provided for the Grant residence, which Schlosser said could be done, and some in attendance also asked for studies showing how the building would impact the view driving north on Main Street.
Many questions, however, centered less around the building and more on the parking plan Schlosser presented.
As it stands now, the plan calls for 60 parking spaces behind the Lake View building that residents felt might adversely impact the Signal Hill homes and also could cause problems in the winter due to snow removal.
The current design of the parking lot will require a variance allowing it to jut 15 feet into the required 100-foot setback from residential properties.
When you use that buffer, youve taken the protection of the land, Pat Grant said. Fifteen feet is big to me.
But Schlosser and Lane Hospitality CEO Bill DeForrest said they feel that by terracing the landscaping behind the parking lot and adding some shrubs, trees and a retaining wall they can completely shield the parking lot from the residential district.
While some suggested looking at building an underground parking lot, both said that would not be cost-effective. They also added that they felt the 60 spaces would be adequate to meet the demand of users for the site.
Schlosser also said the building will be set back from Saranac Avenue and Main Street to allow for the development of more green space and sidewalks. At its closest point, the building will be setback 10 to 15 feet.
In its initial proposal, the project would have needed a number of other variances, including one for height restrictions. While Schlosser said he isnt sure at this stage how many variances would be needed, he did say, From where this projected started, there are many less.
Included in the Hiltons redevelopment plans but not discussed at great length Wednesday are proposals to redesign the storefronts on Main Street that are part of the hotels main building to fit in with the character more, DeForrest said, and there are also plans to renovate the main building and the hotels waterfront property on North Main Street.
I cant emphasize enough that this is a design process, Schlosser said. Were taking baby steps to see if we can balance community needs, our neighbors needs and the buildings needs.
Were trying to reach out to the community, DeForrest added. We want to make sure during the early stages that we gather as much input as we can to help us create something thats much better than what we started out with.
formal timeline has been set for when the project design would be finalized, but
Schlosser said there may be another set of plans to present again within 30 to
60 days following this latest round of public input.
By REBECCA STEFFAN, For the Lake Placid News
LAKE PLACID About 35 community members met Lake Placid Hilton Resort representatives Wednesday morning at the hotel for an informal forum to discuss the scope of and the plans for a condominium complex that would be constructed at the current site of the Lakeview Motel.
After nixing the last plan for a five-story, 46 unit, 37,760 square-foot condominium complex in December, the Hiltons managing company Lane Hospitality hired a new architectural firm and decided to call a meeting with community members to discuss their concerns before the architect begins any new designs.
This is a chance for us to gather input and feedback, Bill Deforrest, Lane Hospitalitys president, said. Were really here to listen. Weve taken a very aggressive approach to try and listen to the customer.
Deforrest said Lane Hospitality wants to redevelop their Lakeview Motel property mainly because they need an upgrade in order to keep up with other Lake Placid lodging properties. Were to the point now where we think the evolution in the community and the age of our existing facility requires us to be more thoughtful about how we prepare for the next 20 years, Deforrest said.
Lane Hospitality also plans to revitalize the main Hilton building and the resorts Lakefront building.
We hope (it) will be an exciting venture for us and the community over the next few years, Deforrest said.
If its not acceptable to the community, its not acceptable to us, Deforrest said of design plans for the redevelopment project.
Lake Placid resident Wayne Johnston, who said he was speaking as an individual and not as a representative for any group, said his main concern with the project was how overwhelming initial plans were for the pedestrian walking along Main Street.
The Main Street corridor is a neighborhood too. It is small town urban, he said.
Johnston said that although the buildings along Main Street front the sidewalk, the general height is not overwhelming to pedestrians.
The effect for a pedestrian is that most buildings are one to three stories tall, its not imposing, not overwhelming, and its part of the appeal of our Main Street, Johnston said.
He requested that Lane Hospitality take into consideration the height plans of the new condominium complex and asked that the project adhere to the current zoning restrictions.
The Rev. Michael Jones, the rector of St. Eustace Episcopal Church in Lake Placid, said his main concern with the project was its impact of the beauty and economy of the village.
Lake Placids chief asset is Gods beauty and that beauty is both an aesthetic pleasure and our chief financial asset mar that beauty and you dont do damage to the eyes only, you do damage to the source of our income, Jones said. I ask that you please build something beautiful that complies with the town code that serves all of us.
Georgia Jones, a village resident, posed several questions to Deforrest and the design team concerning the variances and the projects master plan. Jones asked whether the new design would require all four of the previously requested variances for the initial project and whether or not a master plan had been done on the entire property.
Deforrest said that it was unclear whether or not the redesigned project would require variances as Schlosser and he were waiting to start designs until hearing the communitys input.
Jones also asked Deforrest to consider the possibility of constructing a tunnel under Saranac Avenue for pedestrian traffic near the hotel. Deforrest wrote down Jones questions and said he would look into her requests.
We learned a lot and understand better how we can do this in a more thoughtful manner after taking into consideration residents concerns, Deforrest said.
Lisa Townsend, a Signal Hill resident, said she was concerned about the flavor of the neighborhood, after the original plans for the five-story complex were made public.
Im terrified of my neighborhood getting sucked up in the master plan, its not a commercial strip and the impact to us will be tremendous, she said.
David Schlosser of Schopfer Architects in Syracuse was hired to redesign the Hilton Redevelopment project and has been working with Lane Hospitality for a few weeks on the project, Deforrest said.
Meeting with Hilton Representatives
Letter from Fr. Michael Jones
Rector of St. Eustace Episcopal Church
the Feb. 7 meeting at the Hilton:
My name is Fr. Michael Jones. I am Rector of St. Eustace Episcopal Church, but
I am speaking as a neighbor. I live the next street over. When Hilton put up this
building, [The present hotel] they asked to make it far higher than any other
structure in town. I am told that Ruth Hart successfully argued that no building
should be higher than our tallest tree. The reason that is such a strong argument
is that Lake Placid's chief asset is God's beauty. That beauty is both an aesthetic
pleasure, but it is also our chief financial asset. Mar that beauty and you don't
just offend the eye. You damage the source of our income. My wife and I moved
up from Palm Beach County. We both remember when structures and nature lived in
a sort of harmony. Now you can no longer see the ocean from Palm Beach, except
for a few hundred yards of public land. Tall buildings virtually hide the ocean
from everyone except the privileged. This Hilton's interior is lovely. Outside,
it is ugly as a stump, and, frankly, I'm tired of ugly buildings obscuring what
God put there for all of us. So, I ask: why not build something beautiful that
complies with the town code that serves all of us? "
Im terrified of my neighborhood getting sucked up in the Hilton master plan, its not a commercial strip and the impact to us will be tremendous.
The meeting was a good first step. I feel the new architects certainly understand the needs and concerns of the community. That being said. I would like to see a rendering for the entire project (Hilton Hotel, Lakeside and Waterfront). They were really vague about it and that concerned me. The total impact for the area in question is vital. On my way out of the meeting I had suggested to Mr. Deforrest if variances are needed they should be run by the community. He said he thought that was a very good idea. All the right things were said in this meeting. The proof will be in the pudding"
Hilton Hotel Representatives met Wednesday morning with the Lake Placid community to discuss the next phase of Hilton Redevelopment Project.
'Round Two' of the ongoing Hilton Redevelopment Project was ushered in at 10AM as a large group of Lake Placid community members gathered at the Hilton Hotel to listen to Hilton representatives discuss the next phase of the Hilton Hotel project.
Over 35 community members turned out to hear what Hilton executives had to say as well as to offer constructive comments and suggestions for the new Hilton design.
DeForrest, CEO of Lane Hospitality (new owner of the Hilton Hotel property), began
the meeting by stating that this represents a new beginning for the Hilton project.
Hospitality has hired a new architectural firm, Schopfer Architects, out of Syracuse,
NY. The lead architect is David Schopfer who has considerable experience with
historic renovations. Schopfer has been given the difficult task of redesigning
the Hilton project so that it fits the existing footprint of the current facility
and conforms with legal zoning codes.
Grant, one of the principal organizers of the meeting was very pleased with the
large public turnout.
part of this process, Grant is making available to the public complete audio CD's
and DVD's of yesterdays meeting on their web site www.SaveLakePlacid.com . SaveLakePlacid.com
will provide a dedicated page
and email request form where the public can request loaner copies of the audio
CD and DVD.
"I know there are a lot of people out there who could not make this meeting because of their jobs and other obligations. We filmed the entire event so the public can view the hour long proceedings and stay completely informed. I spoke with Bill DeForrest about this and he agrees. The more information everybody has, the better this whole process will be."
The Hilton design team will now take all public comments gleaned from yesterdays meeting and move forward with preliminary designs that reflect the community concerns expressed by local residents.
As Barry Press, one audience member put it , "All the right things were said at this meeting. The proof will be in the pudding!"
For contact information:
meeting is supposed to be informational - not adversarial" according to Rob
Grant of www.SaveLakePlacid.com ."We asked Mr. DeForrest back in December
if he would like to meet with concerned community members as well as adjoining
property owners to discuss the proposed Hilton project in a more informal setting
than a official public hearing. Mr. DeForrest agreed and indicated he would like
to hear what community members have to say and share his ideas with the community.
Our understanding is that the Hilton design team will then attempt to work with
this new information and incorporate it into an entirely new redesign of the Hilton
C/O Rob Grant
Lake Placid Community Wins Round One!
"It's a very exciting moment for a lot of us," Grant said. "I think it shows what you can do when you're willing to fight and stand up for what you believe. I think they completely underestimated the public outcry."
Public Urged to Continue Campaign
We would like to urge everyone in the community to continue to write letters and circulate petitions expressing your thoughts and opinions about this ongoing project. Although we have won round one, please know that the Hilton redevelopment project plans to come back with a revised plan at the beginning of the new year.
We need to be ready!
On Friday morning Bill DeForrest, CEO of Lane Hospitality reached out to Rob Grant and Lake Placid community members to tell them he was sorry for the conflict the proposed Hilton Redevelopment Plan had caused the community.
In a prepared statement to the press, Mr Deforrest said:
We never had an intention of causing challenges and difficulties for our neighbors and community.
If need be, we want to take the time to listen, be responsive and develop our strategy based on plans that will be received with enthusiasm and embraced by the local community.
We would like to commend Bill DeForrest and Lane Hospitality for acknowledging the many concerns raised by Lake Placid community members and officials.
As all of us know, it takes courage and character to admit when you're wrong.
Our hope is that we can move forward and work together with Lane Hospitality to craft a plan that is fair and acceptable to both the Lake Placid community and the Hilton Hotel group.
Adirondack Park & Lake Placid
research needed to fulfill these three criteria should be carried out in an open
process where the public is provided with ample, independent background information
and extensive opportunities to fully participate. Of course, the alternative selected
should be that which has the most positive quality of life impact while coming
closest to achieving the purposes of the project.
The Hilton Lake Placid Resort has withdrawn its plans for a 46-unit condominium complex after an intense public outcry over the project.
Ken Jubin, Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, said he received a phone call from Bill DeForrest, the CEO of Lane Hospitality, the Hiltons management company, telling him they are withdrawing the application. A December 18 public hearing on the project has been cancelled, Jubin said.
Rob Grant, who had organized much of the opposition to the project, says he also got a call from DeForrest. He said I just want to say were sorry for what we put you and your family through, and what we put the community through, Grant explained.
DeForrest issued a press release saying theyve decided to reconsider and reevaluate the proposed redevelopment plan. This will give us the time to reach out to the members of the community who have raised concerns in an effort to create a project that benefits our village for the future, he said.
The Hilton had proposed a five-story condominium complex on the site of their Lake View Motel on Mirror Lake Drive and Saranac Avenue.
Variances were needed because the structure would be twenty feet higher than permitted and built within 100 feet of a residential zoning district. Other setback and parking variances were requested.
But the size and scope of the project sparked concern among neighboring property owners, like Rob Grant who called the withdrawal of the proposal a tremendous victory for the community. Its a very exciting moment for a lot of us, he said. I think it shows what you can do when youre willing to fight and stand up for what you believe. I think they completely underestimated the public outcry.
Grant said they dont plan to let their guard down and will be ready when Hilton develops another proposal for the site.
The neighboring Lake Placid Summit Hotel had also raised concerns about the condo complex. Specifically, they said it would block their guests views of Mirror Lake and be detrimental to their business.
General Manager Brandi Barbee was glad to hear the project had been shelved. I think they maybe misunderstood how a project of that size would impact the entire community, she said.
Lake Placid Mayor Jamie Rogers also said Hilton officials made the right decision. I think they realized this had a negative impact on the community and that if youre going to be a responsible player in the community you need to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate your plans, he said. I commend them for that.
DeForrest, in his statement, said the company takes pride in the relationships theyve developed in Lake Placid over the years. We enthusiastically look forward to resubmitting a favorable and positive proposal for this site in the future, he said.
By MIKE LYNCH, Enterprise Staff Writer
SARANAC LAKE Lane Hospitality, which runs the Hilton Lake Placid Resort, has pulled its application to redevelop the site of the Hiltons Lake View Motel into a five-story, 46-unit condominium complex in Lake Placid, President and CEO Bill DeForest told the Enterprise today.
DeForest said the decision came because Lake Placid residents voiced concerns about the project and his company wanted to re-evaluate its proposal.
We never had an intention of causing challenges and difficulties for our neighbors and community, DeForest said.
said he informed village officials on Thursday that his company was withdrawing
its proposal for the 37,760-square-foot condominium complex to be built on Mirror
Lake Drive at Saranac Avenue.
We have the utmost respect for any concerns that may arise, said DeForest in a prepared statement. If need be, we want to take the time to listen, be responsive and develop our strategy based on plans that will be received with enthusiasm and embraced by the local community.
DeForest has already phoned Rob Grant, a real estate broker who, along with his wife Patricia, owns one of the three homes that border the sites property line on Signal Hill. The project would have blocked the couples view of Mirror Lake, and they have started two Web sites and several petitions to oppose the project.
I think its a wonderful victory and something that happened in a remarkably short period of time, Rob Grant told the Enterprise this morning.
Rob Grant said DeForest told him today that he would like to come to Lake Placid and discuss how to configure a new project that would be acceptable to the neighbors.
It was the first time he had talked to DeForest, Rob Grant said.
The withdrawal means that the Lake Placid-North Elba Zoning Board of Appeals onsite visit and balloon launch at the Signal Hill site Saturday is cancelled. A public hearing on the project had also been scheduled before the local zoning board of appeals on Dec. 18.
This will give us time to reach out to the members of the community who have raised concerns in an effort to create a project that benefits our village for the future, DeForest said in the prepared statement. We enthusiastically look forward to resubmitting a favorable and positive proposal for this site in the future.
In a press statement issued Friday morning, Bill DeForrest, president and CEO of Lane Hospitality, based in Northbrook, Illinois, said: If need be, we want to take the time to listen, be responsive and develop our strategy based on plans that will be received with enthusiasm and embraced by the local community.
Lane Hospitality has decided to reconsider and re-evaluate our initial proposal and has withdrawn its application to the Zoning Board of Appeals, he said in the statement.
This will give us the time to reach out to the members of the community who have raised concerns in an effort to create a project that benefits our village for the future.
DeForrests decision arrived just a day before the Zoning Board had planned a site-test review using six balloons to check the structural heights proposed on the new block of condominiums.
Balloons would also have demonstrated the height allowed by current zoning regulations.
The Hiltons condominium complex, as proposed, required variances from four village codes.
Several groups in the community rallied against the project, which they claimed was too big and out of touch with the character of the alpine village.
Among those most concerned were Pat and Rob Grant, longtime homeowners on Signal Hill. The Hilton project, as originally proposed, would have loomed ahead of their view of the village and Mirror Lake below.
Mrs. Grant was relieved, at least for now.
It sounds good, she said upon hearing DeForrests statement. We won round one. I think what hes saying is nice.
But how high is building too high in Lake Placid?
I think we need to understand the current zoning code first, Mrs. Grant said. (The language) is very difficult to understand, but they need to stay within the prescribed code. And even if they do, I want to know how tall the building would be from the bottom to the top.
If (Mr. DeForrest) has an emotional commitment to the community, hes got to understand the building code.
At the Lake Placid Summit Hotel, just a few yards uphill from the proposed Hilton development, General Manager Brandi Barbee sounded relieved to hear the project was taken off the table.
a happy girl, she said. Weve been good neighbors with the Hilton
for years; we often work on various programs together.
If the Hilton built five stories up, the new restaurant would essentially have gained a view of the hotel wall.
Just when we started to get things together, we found out about (the condominium development) plan. What they had planned was just too big, Barbee said. I dont think they anticipated the communitys reaction.
Mr. Grant called the withdrawal a wonderful display of community support and a wonderful victory for Lake Placid.
Im stunned by how quickly we were able to mount a grass-roots campaign to fight the proposed development.
Mr. Grant said DeForrest called him late Thursday to talk about shelving the project plans as they were.
He said he would like to come to Lake Placid and meet with us us being the community and immediate neighbors. I think he is sincere.
With hundreds of signatures gathered and a Web site keeping public tabs on the development, Mr. Grant was surprised at the overwhelming community response.
We ramped up and were able to bring this thing to a screeching halt. It shows people you can do it if you get organized. If youre willing to get out there and fight, you can stop these things.
Lake Placid Mayor Jamie Rogers said initial discussions to retract the project came in late Thursday.
I think (Lane Hospitality) realized the support of the community would not get behind this project. I think theyve done the right thing.
Zoning Board Chairman Ken Jubin said it was the applicants prerogative to withdraw the application.
I dont think its my position to think anything about it, he said. Well just have to evaluate the application if or when they resubmit one.
In his statement, DeForrest indicated renovation of the Hilton Lake Placid Resort is still in the picture.
We are dedicated to creating projects that benefit the communities in which we are members.
We enthusiastically look forward to resubmitting a favorable and positive proposal for this site in the future.
Kim Smith Dedam at:
Photo gallery of Lake Placid community meeting to review the Hilton Redevelopment Project
On November 30th, the first meeting of concerned Lake Placid Citizens was held to discuss the proposed Hilton ReDevelopment Project.
This group was hosted by the Grant's and included many leading community members who have have been active in Lake Placid zoning and development issues for many years.
Among those attending this meeting & pictured below are Ruth Hart, Georgia Jones, Dr. & Lauri Bergamini, Wayne Johnston, Ray & Iris Havilcek, Ian Poole, Lisa Townson, Al Tuthill, Barry & Rosette Press, Dianne Reynolds, Terri & Debbi Kent, Jane Egan and many others. The meeting was chaired by Pat Grant and included a detailed review of the proposed Hilton Redevelopment Project and its impact on the Village of Lake Placid.
Public Comment Message Board
Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals Members
If you would like to send a letter to the Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals
please send to :
Kenneth C. Jubin, Chairman ZBA
PO Box 808
Lake Placid, NY 12946
Members of the ZBA include the following:
Ms. Melissa Strack
Cornelia R. Bonsignore
Mr. Kenneth C. Jubin
Lorraine Von Dell
Mr. Charles W. Finley
Lake Placid / North Elba Joint Planning Commission
The Lake Placid / North Elba Joint Planning Commission has a website that serves as the primary resource and communications center for all information related to Joint Planning Commission projects.
In 1997, the Village of Lake Placid and Town of North Elba completed a Joint Comprehensive Plan which recommended the adoption of a Joint Lake Use Code to serve both municipalities. Undertaken largely by dedicated volunteers, the new Code was adopted in December 2000, which also created a Joint Planning Commission (JPC).
The Town and Village have contracted with "LandWorks," a planning and design firm based in Middlebury, Vermont to work with the community in preparing a "Smart Growth" Joint Land Use Code. There will be periodic public meetings or forums once the process is started to include the community during the revision. This website also provides a form for the public to submit input regarding the Code revision. Once a draft Code has been completed, it will be presented to the Town Board and Village Trustees. Subsequently, the draft will be presented at a public information meeting for review and comment.
Please click on the following links for more information:
Draft Code Sections (new 10-11-06)
Draft Code Sections-2 (new 10-18-06)
Click Here for Visual Survey
Visual Survey Results (new 10-11-06)
Please visit The Lake Placid / North Elba Joint Planning Commission website for more information
We are posting comments and opinions from concerned citizens as these come in to us.
Please read these posts below:
'The land use code, (which is a good one) states in it's opening mission statement "...purpose and intent of these Regulations is to promote the health, safety and the general welfare of the community....................to promote aesthetic values, and to encourage the most appropriate use of land throughout the Village of LP and Town of N. Elba Comprehensive Plan. Further, its purpose is to consider land use and development........in order to preserve the character and quality of life enjoyed in the Community at present.... The overall goal of the Comprehensive Plan is to protect and enhance both the community and its natural surroundings. The comprehensive Plan recognizes that we are a dual-purpose community - that the needs of the residents and our visitors are equally important. '
"Progress is important to any town. However,when it changes the face of our town and the reasons why people live and visit here,then it has gone too far. A conservative updating of the Hilton Properties, in keeping with the town's character is called for, but not this massive approach or with the adverse affect on its residents that this project surely will have".
"The purpose of the Lake Placid building code is to "preserve the character of the community" This project, as proposed, totally ignores this criteria."
"Hilton's design is huge. It is like five Walmarts stacked on top of each other, plus turrets, peaked roofs and towers. Also, it appears to be just the first step of an aggressive overall plan to build up their whole complex, making us look more like the Town of North Hilton. "
Acting Executive Director
U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation
Lake Placid, NY 12946
Would you be kind enough to send me a copy of the petition opposing the expansion? My printer is not working at this time. Thank you in advance.
Barbara Larson PO Box 324, Lake Placid
SUMMIT HOTEL OPPOSES HILTONS CONDO COMPLEX
by- Chris Knight WNBZ AM 1240, FM Y106.3
The Lake Placid Hiltons plan to build a five-story 46-unit condominium complex on the site of their existing Lake View Motel on Mirror Lake Drive is facing opposition from a neighboring hotel property.
Its going to be detrimental to our business, said Brandi Barbee, general manager of the Lake Placid Summit Hotel, formerly the Ramada Inn, which is located directly behind and slightly above the project site.
Barbee says the Hiltons condo complex would eliminate the view of Mirror Lake from their current restaurant, a new restaurant and one entire side of their three-story hotel. It will completely block the views, she said.
A public hearing on the Hilton project is scheduled for December 18 before the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Zoning Board of Appeals.
The condominium complex, which also includes an underground parking area, would need several variances from the ZBA before the project could be presented to the village and town review board.
One of the variances would allow for smaller off-street parking spaces than allowed in the propertys zoning district. Another would permit the building to be closer than 100 feet to a residential district. And the Hilton wants to construct the building 19 feet, 10 inches higher than the 40 feet allowed in the code.
Edward Garrigan of the Latham-based C.T. Male, the Hiltons engineering firm, said the complex needs to be that size because of the upscale market their building for. The starting price for the condos is $500,000. You need to have a certain amount of square footage to offer that product, he said. We need to have so many rooms at certain square feet in order to have a project to send out to potential buyers.
And there are costs associated with moving a sewer line underneath the existing motel that need to be offset to make the project viable, Garrigan said.
He also said the architect has tried to make the building fit in with the area. Theres other buildings on Main Street hes incorporated into his design to make this part of the fabric of the community and not something that doesnt fit the Adirondacks and Lake Placid, he said.
But the Summit Hotel has hired a consultant and a photographer to try and show how their business would be negatively affected by the structure. Barbee said they tried to work with officials at the Hilton. Theyve been very cordial, she said. But it would have significant impact on us.
The neighbors have also hired a local attorney whos trying to contact other property owners who will be impacted by the loss of their view.
says they planned to lease the new restaurant in the next three months, but those
people have now backed out. She thinks its because of what the Hilton has
proposed. I do believe thats the reason they decided to pull out of
the project, she said. They were excited for a lake front view. Well
probably end up operating it ourselves.
By REBECCA STEFFAN, Enterprise Staff Writer
LAKE PLACID The news that Lane Hospitality, which owns the Lake Placid Hilton Resort, had pulled its proposal for a 46-unit condominium complex surprised many in this community. On Dec. 7, the developers decided to return to the drawing board after a spurt of protests left them feeling uncomfortable with the amount of resistance mounted by village residents.
We dont have any intentions of doing something that is unacceptable to the community, Bill Deforrest, CEO of Lane Hospitality, said Monday afternoon.
The project, to be located at the site of the Hiltons Lake View Motel on Mirror Lake Drive at Saranac Avenue, would have required four variances from the local Zoning Board of Appeals. One of its neighbors concerns was that the height of the five-story building, almost 60 feet if the variance had been granted, would have affected the quality of their views.
Chief among the protesters were Signal Hill residents Rob and Patricia Grant, who launched two Web sites and numerous petitions against the project. The Grants are set to meet with Deforrest today to discuss their concerns about the project.
I want to show him exactly how this project would destroy our view, Rob Grant said.
Deforrest said that it was never Lane Hospitalitys intention to alienate neighbors with its original, 37,760-square-foot condominium complex proposal.
We thought we put together a proposal that would be good for that site, he said. We feel we have an obligation to do something.
By constructing a new building on the existing motel site, Deforrest said the property would be a better investment in their future in Lake Placid.
We will more than double our initial investment, he said.
Now, in the wake of a three-year planning and design process that didnt come to fruition, Deforrest will spend the next couple of weeks gathering neighbors input, meeting with local government officials and bringing in the projects architect, C.T. Male and Associates, to revamp the design and hopefully create a proposal that isnt so offensive to the community.
The only time you can rethink a project is before you start it, Deforrest said.
Im not unrealistic; you cant make everybody happy we want to be good neighbors.
That sentiment is something Rob Grant said gives him hope.
My hope is that hes really going to work with the community, Grant said.
Deforrest, who manages the Lake Placid Hilton, said that though he lives in Chicago, Lane Hospitalitys presence in Lake Placid is not new.
Weve been here eight years and plan on being here 10 to 15 more, Deforrest said.
We want to do something that is less difficult for neighbors and the community.
Deforrest said the decision to pull the proposal was the result of community protests.
It became more of a village-wide issue, he said.
Now is the time to listen to input and still try to deliver something that makes economic sense.
By remodeling the Hilton properties, Deforrest said, his company would help keep them on the market as viable and profitable businesses.
Hilton Update - Meeting with Bill DeForrest & John Dodson - Tuesday 19th,
Placid Area Photos