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**Hilton Update**


The Press Republican
Published December 06, 2007 11:15 pm -

Joint Review Board grants permit for 31-unit Lake Placid Hilton Resort condominium at the foot of Signal Hill.

Hilton condo project approved
Project scaled down after objections by some neighbors

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Staff Writer


LAKE PLACID -- The Lake Placid/North Elba Joint Review Board approved the new condominium complex proposed for the Lake Placid Hilton Resort.

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.



Thursday September 6, 2007

Public speaks about Hilton condos

By REBECCA STEFFAN, Enterprise Staff Writer

LAKE PLACID — An audience of about 50 community members shared their thoughts on the Lake Placid Hilton’s 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 Hilton’s 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.

“You’re not going to have a cocktail party where you can’t see the lake,” JRB member Horst Weber said.

Other Lake Placid residents questioned the viewshed impacts from Saranac Avenue and the Summit Hotel.

“I 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 Hilton’s 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 condominium’s rooftop, not the lake. Kumar said she feels the view impact will cause her to lose millions of dollars in business.

In light of Kumar’s 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 doesn’t 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 JRB’s agenda at their next meeting Sept. 19 at the North Elba Town Hall.



Thursday
August 16, 2007

PUBLIC HEARING SET ON LP HILTON PROJECT

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.”

Public 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
better as it gives the planners more time to absorb the information at their own pace.

Originally constructed in the early 1960s, the Hilton hotel complex was last expanded in 1979 in anticipation of the 1980 Winter Olympics.

- Jacob Resneck



Wednesday August 15, 2007

Please be advised that there is a JRB meeting tonight (8-15-07) regarding new revisions to the Hilton Condo project. This meeting will take place at 7:00 pm at the North Elba Town Hall
Many Thanks,
Rob Grant




July 23, 2007

On Site Visit by JOINT REVIEW BOARD Planned for Hilton Property on Tuesday July 24 - 4:45 pm

A formal site visit has been scheduled by the Joint Review Board for Tuesday July 24th at 4:45 pm during which time balloons will be flown to show proposed heights and boundaries of the proposed buildings.

The public is invited to attend this on site inspection.



July 5th, 07

JOINT REVIEW BOARD SCRUTINIZES NEW HILTON CONDO PLANS

The Hilton Hotel & Lane Hospitality Group came before the JRB Thursday evening to present new scaled down plans for their proposed condo project overlooking Mirror Lake in Lake Placid.

Responding to concerns by neighboring Signal Hill residents that the original acreage used to determine the number of condo units had been incorrect, the Hilton revised its total acreage to approx. 2.8 acres resulting in a reduction of marketable units from thirty six to thirty one.
The project's overall square footage and density remained essentially the same.

David Schlosser, partner with Schopfer Architects, presented the revised plans to the JRB.

Board member Peter Roland noted that he still had concerns with the projects negative impact on the Saranac Avenue viewshed overlooking Mirror Lake.
In general, however, the JRB members agreed that the project had come a long way from the original plan which called for a five story 49 unit structure towering over the lake.

A formal site visit has been scheduled for July 24th during which time balloons will be flown to show proposed heights and boundaries of the proposed buildings.


The Press Republician


Development projects fill JRB agenda in Lake Placid

Friday June 8th 2007

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Staff Writer


LAKE PLACID -- With six major construction projects under review, the North Elba and Lake Placid Joint Review Board muscled through a full agenda Wednesday until past 10 p.m.

HILTON CONDOS

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.

Please be advised that neighboring property owners have retained legal council to investigate the Hilton density issue. Specifically, we are asking for clarification on the exact amount of land available for determining the scope and size of the Hilton project. It would appear that the project is currently based on 4.15 acres for lot development. However, preliminary research has determined that the actual acreage may be significantly less - perhaps 3.6 acres or less. It appears that the Hilton has also measured to the "Center Of The road" which is not permitted according to current Land Use Code. Additionally, it appears that the Hilton has not excluded the existing waterfront hotel building on Mirror lake which would further reduce the available acreage used to determine final scope and size of this project. These are critical issues which will determine the final size of the Hilton condo project as well as the final number of condominium units.

Hi Everybody -

Please be advised that a formal meeting will be held regarding the new Hilton Condo plans by the JRB (Joint Review Board) this coming Wed. June 6th at 7pm at the Town Hall (3rd Fl.) in Lake Placid.

This is a very important meeting & will represent the first time the Hilton has presented their new plans to the Joint Review Board.
It is our understanding that the public is invited & encouraged to come - but no formal comments can be made from the public at this meeting.
This meeting is strictly informational.

We urge everyone to please attend this critical meeting.

Many thanks,

Rob Grant
518-891-3745



Please be advised that continuing concerns have been raised regarding the actual scope and size of the Hilton project in relation to the available land on the proposed site.
There also appears to be ongoing confusion regarding the actual density and square footage of the proposed buildings. The community is seeking clarification from Lane Hospitality and the Hilton on these issues.


APRIL 25, 2007
Hilton Hotel representatives met with the Lake Placid community Wednesday morning to review what Bill DeForrest, ceo of Lane Hospitality, called the final plans for the Hilton condominium project slated for development along Saranac Avenue and Mirror Lake Drive in Lake Placid.
The Hilton plans to move forward with a request for a formal review process with the respective Lake Placid zoning boards beginning early this summer.

Public reaction varied widely at this mornings meeting. Concerns expressed by members of the audience focused on the Hilton project representing a major 'change of use' resulting in a much greater density and square footage (over twice as much as what is currently there).

The Hilton Hotel plans to replace its small 40 plus room two story hotel with a significant 'multi-use' condominium project boasting 36 luxury condo homes.
It should be noted that Bill DeForrest and Lane Hospitality's team of engineers and architects have worked hard over the last 5 months to listen to community members concerns and attempt to scale back the Hilton project from its original massive design. But this project still remains a significant undertaking.

"At this point, we have done as much as we can hope to do to bring the Lake Placid community together with the Hilton Hotel representatives in order to give this project guidance and to let community members express their thoughts, feelings and ideas" said Rob Grant. "This project will now go before the local zoning boards for a detailed review and, most importantly, be the subject of a major public hearing sometime this summer. I think that what's at stake here is very significant, not only for the local neighborhoods that will be impacted directly, but for the entire Lake Placid community which will have to live with this project for years to come. Once these buildings go up, the die is cast - You can't go back and undo this."


CD / DVD Copy of the Hilton Hotel PUBLIC MEETING
APRIL 25 , 2007

click here

Public Meeting


Hilton to unveil revised condo design April 25, 2007

Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Wednesday, April 11, 2007

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.

The Hilton’s 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 Lake Drive.

Visit:
Save Saranac Lake.org
Concerned citizens working to preserve the unique Adirondack character of Saranac Lake, NY.


Public Meeting with Hilton Representatives
Wednesday March 7, 2007

About 25 community members met with Lake Placid Hilton Resort representatives this morning at the hotel in order to view and discuss the preliminary plans for the revised redevelopment project.
The Hilton Group shared their predesign 'Goals and Guiding Principals' related to the proposed demolition and reconstruction
of the Lakeview building.
click here for Hilton Goals and Guiding Principals Handout



Saturday March 10, 2007
'Revised Hilton Project Presented to Lake Placid Community.'

WPTZ aired an interview with Rob Grant (including comments from Lake Placid's mayor Jamie Rogers) concerning the revised Hilton Redevelopment Project & its impact on the Lake Placid community on 'March 10th' (broadcast 6pm & 11pm).

In the interview, Grant noted that Lane Hospitality has scaled back their plans for the Hilton Condo Hotel - but the impact of this project remains significant for Lake Placid and its residents.
The revised plans still require zoning variances (specifically 15' for parking to be carved out of the 100' residential setback protecting the Signal Hill neighborhood) as well as impacting major viewsheds along the Saranac Avenue corridor and surrounding neighborhoods.


As a follow up to the WPTZ interview Grant had these comments:
"This project remains huge in scope despite being scaled back in response to community concerns.
I think the real question that we have to ask ourselves is where are we headed in the future ...can we balance the unique small town character of Lake Placid against huge commercial projects like this one... as well as the many others that are still on the drawing board.
Do we really have a vision for Lake Placid's future? - Or will we end up simply giving away our town piece by piece in the name of resort marketing.
The ultimate irony is that when people visit us, we won't be what they want anymore.
And, sadly, we will have displaced our primary residents in the process."


CD / DVD Copy of the Hilton Hotel Preliminary Plans
March 7, 2007

click here



Revised Hilton plans revealed
Thursday March 8, 2007

LAKE PLACID — Hilton Lake Placid Resort officials unveiled another set of preliminary designs for the hotel’s new condo complex on the site of the current Lake View building Wednesday, again seeking public input before moving ahead with a detailed proposal.

The hotel’s 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 Placid’s Main Street.

Those concerns prompted Lane Hospitality to withdraw the plans less than a month later, and the group’s 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.

“We’re 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, you’ve 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 isn’t 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 Hilton’s redevelopment plans but not discussed at great length Wednesday are proposals to redesign the storefronts on Main Street that are part of the hotel’s main building to fit in with the character more, DeForrest said, and there are also plans to renovate the main building and the hotel’s waterfront property on North Main Street.

“I can’t emphasize enough that this is a design process,” Schlosser said. “We’re taking baby steps to see if we can balance community needs, our neighbor’s needs and the building’s needs.”

“We’re 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 that’s much better than what we started out with.”

No 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 ANDY BATES, News Staff Writer






  

  



Thursday February 8, 2007
Hilton owners host community forum on resort redevelopment

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 Hilton’s 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 Hospitality’s president, said. “We’re really here to listen. We’ve 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. “We’re 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 resort’s Lakefront building.

“We hope (it) will be an exciting venture for us and the community over the next few years,” Deforrest said.

“If it’s not acceptable to the community, its not acceptable to us,” Deforrest said of design plans for the redevelopment project.

“We want to work with the community to develop a project that is good for community members and for visitors,” Deforrest said.

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, it’s not imposing, not overwhelming, and it’s 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 Placid’s chief asset is God’s beauty and that beauty is both an aesthetic pleasure and our chief financial asset — mar that beauty and you don’t 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 project’s 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 community’s 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.

“I’m terrified of my neighborhood getting sucked up in the master plan, it’s 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.

Public Meeting with Hilton Representatives

View our complete photo gallery of the
Hilton Redevelopment Meeting held Wednesday
Morning February 7, 2007

   
   


As a courtesy to those people who could not attend the
Wednesday morning meeting, we are providing free loaner copies of the Hilton meeting in both CD and DVD formats.
Please click on the cd below to request a copy.

CD / DVD Copy of the Hilton Hotel Redevelopment Meeting

click here





Letter from Fr. Michael Jones
Rector of St. Eustace Episcopal Church

"From 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? "
The Rev. Michael S. Jones


Lisa Townsend
Lake Placid Resident

I’m terrified of my neighborhood getting sucked up in the Hilton master plan, it’s not a commercial strip and the impact to us will be tremendous.





Barry Press
Lake Placid Resident

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"




Wayne Johnston

Lake Placid Resident

The Main Street corridor is a neighborhood too. It is small town urban.
The effect for a pedestrian is that most buildings are one to three stories tall, it’s not imposing, not overwhelming, and it’s part of the appeal of our Main Street.


Press Release


Thursday, Feb 8th, 2007

'Round Two' of the ongoing Hilton Redevelopment Project begins.
www.SaveLakePlacid.com will offer complete audio CD's & DVD's of the Hour Long Hilton Meeting to public on web site.

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.

Bill 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.
"We are starting with a clean slate. We want to hear from the Lake Placid community and we want to build a project that we can all be proud of."

Lane 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.
"It will not be easy to accomplish our goals" said David Schopfer, "But we are certainly going to try."

Rob Grant, one of the principal organizers of the meeting was very pleased with the large public turnout.
"This is the first opportunity the Lake Placid community has been given to express their feelings and to meet the key people involved in the Hilton project. It's critical that the Hilton project and the entire design process be completely transparent. This message came through loud and clear. The public deserves to know exactly what's going on and to be involved in this process every step of the way."

As 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.
click here for CD/DVD request

"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:

www.SaveLakePlacid.com
www.LakePlacidZoning.com
comments@savelakeplacid.com

C/O Rob Grant
518-891-3745 (Office)


Hilton Redevelopment Meeting
Lake Placid, Tuesday Feb. 7th , 10AM

Hilton Hotel Represenatives met today 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 late this morning when a large group of Lake Placid community members gathered at the Hilton Hotel to listen to Hilton represenatives discuss the next phase of the Hilton Hotel project.

As one member of the audience put it, "We are very cautiously optimistic..."

We will be posting a full story with reactions and comments later today...Please stay tuned!

   
Press Release
February 5th, 2007


Urgent Hilton Update - Meeting with Bill DeForrest & Community Members - Wednesday Feb. 7th, 10 AM

Bill DeForrest, CEO of Lane Hospitality & John Dodson, General Manager of the Hilton Hotel will be meeting with concerned community members to discuss the ongoing Hilton Redevelopment project on Wednesday February 7th at 10 AM in the Terrace Conference room at the Hilton Hotel. The purpose of the meeting is to provide community members with the opportunity to meet Hilton representatives and share their concerns and ideas about the proposed Hilton Redevelopment project as it moves forward.

"This 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 project."

This will be a very important meeting which is designed to give both parties the opportunity to discuss the concerns and issues raised by the ongoing controversy surrounding the proposed Hilton Redevelopment project. Hilton Hotel & Lane Hospitality had been scheduled to appear at a Public Hearing on Dec. 18th, 2006 to present their plans for a five story condo/hotel project. However, the size and scope of the Hilton project sparked such a huge public outcry that Lane Hospitality pulled their application and canceled the public hearing in the eleventh hour. It now appears that the Hilton Hotel project will go back to the drawing boards as Lane Hospitality decides how best to respond to the Lake Placid community and address the many issues raised by the original plan.

The Hilton controversy has also raised public awareness about the future direction of Lake Placid and how much growth the village can withstand before permanent damage is done to the unique Alpine character of the community. There is growing concern among many Lake Placid residents that the situation is out of control.

"It is our sincere hope that Lane Hospitality and the Hilton will now listen to what people are saying and redesign a project that is scaled-down and in keeping with the character of Lake Placid." said Grant.


For contact information:

www.SaveLakePlacid.com
www.LakePlacidZoning.com
comments@savelakeplacid.com

C/O Rob Grant
518-891-3745 Office



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!



December 21, 2006
HILTON REP MEETS WITH EXPANSION PROJECT OPPONENTS

Less than two weeks after the Hilton withdrew its plans for a controversial condominium complex on Mirror Lake Drive in Lake Placid, company officials have met with the project’s chief opponents.

Bill DeForrest, CEO of Lane Hospitality, and John Dodson, General Manger of the Hilton Hotel, met with Rob and Pat Grant on Tuesday at their Signal Hill home.

Grant, in a news release, called it a productive meeting. “I give Bill DeForrest a lot of credit for taking the time to meet with us at our home and to spend several hours discussing this project,” he said.

The Hilton had planned a 46-unit, five-story complex of condos on the site of the existing Lake View Motel. The company applied for several variances through the Lake Placid-North Elba Zoning Board of Appeals, but withdrew the application after an intense public outcry. A public hearing that had been scheduled for this past Monday was canceled.

DeForrest told WNBZ earlier this month that they decided to reconsider and reevaluate the proposal. He said it would give them time to reach out to the community. “I’m going to come in and try to find opportunities to meet with those who raised concerns and understand what they are, and talk about strategies as to how we can respond to those,” he said.

Neighbors, like the Grants, had raised concerns about the size and scope of the project.

After meeting with Hilton officials this week, Grant said the company seems sincere about their desire to create a project that the community will find acceptable.

Grant says DeForrest admitted to them that the Hilton is outdated and market research indicates today’s tourist and condo buyer wants something larger and more luxurious.

“We told Bill DeForrest that he has a unique opportunity to be a hero in the Lake Placid community if he is willing to listen to what people are telling him and design a project that is scaled-down and keeping with the character of Lake Placid,” Grant said.

DeForrest has reportedly agreed to meet in January with members of the neighborhood and community. The Grants say they’ve been asked to be a part of the design process as the project moves forward.





Press Release
Wednesday December 20th 10 am

Hilton Update - Meeting with Bill DeForrest & John Dodson - Tuesday 19th, 10 AM

Bill DeForrest, CEO of Lane Hospitality & John Dodson, General Manger of the Hilton Hotel met with Rob & Pat Grant Tuesday morning at their home on Signal Hill in Lake Placid to discuss the ongoing Hilton Redevelopment project.
click here to read entire press release



Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Rebuffed, Hilton tries to balance economics, neighbors

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 don’t 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 Hilton’s 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.
click here for entire article


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Hilton Update - December 19th, 2006
Hilton Update - Meeting with Bill DeForrest & John Dodson - Tuesday 19th, 10 AM

Bill DeForrest, CEO of Lane Hospitality & John Dodson, General Manger of the Hilton Hotel met with Rob & Pat Grant Tuesday morning at their home on Signal Hill in Lake Placid to discuss the ongoing Hilton Redevelopment project.

"It was a very good and productive meeting" according to Grant."This was the first time any of us had the opportunity to meet in person. Actions always speak louder than words. I give Bill DeForrest a lot of credit for taking the time to meet with us at our home and to spend several hours discussing this project."

A full report and update of this mornings meeting will be posted on this site shortly.



Hilton Update - December 18th, 2006
Please be advised that we will be meeting personally with Bill DeForrest, CEO Lane Hospitality, on Tuesday December 19th.
This will be our first opportunity to discuss community concerns as well as the next steps with Mr. DeForrest in the ongoing Hilton redevelopment project



Plans For Condos In Lake Placid Withdrawn
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The Hilton Lake Placid Resort has withdrawn plans for a controversial project. Opponents said the hotel has given up on building 46 condos on Mirror Lake after an outcry from the community. The resort said it's going back to the drawing board to try to come up with a project that would be better received by neighbors.

Click here for WNBZ article

Click here for Adirondack Daily Enterprise article
Click here for Press Republician coverage


Hilton representatives confirmed today that the Hilton Redevelopment Project has been formally withdrawn. The proposed 46 unit condo / hotel project has been shelved because of unprecedented public outcry.
This represents a remarkable victory for our community!

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.”
Bill DeForrest


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.
Rob Grant


PRESS RELEASE:
Friday 12/8/06

HILTON FORMALLY WITHDRAWS 46 UNIT CONDO HOTEL APPLICATION DUE TO PUBLIC OUTCRY

In a remarkable turn of events, the Hilton Redevelopment Project has formally announced that they are withdrawing their application for a proposed 46 unit condo hotel project in Lake placid, NY due to unprecedented public outcry.

In a phone call to Rob Grant early this morning, Bill Deforrest, representing the Hilton Hotel group, confirmed that they are withdrawing their application which had been scheduled to go before the ZBA for a public hearing on December 18th.

"It is a wonderful victory for our community" said Grant. "It shows the power of concerned citizens when they are willing to stand up and fight for what they believe in. We should all be very proud of what we have accomplished today."

Grant confirmed that Bill Deforrest is now reaching out to community members to express how sorry he is for the conflict this project has caused so many people in Lake Placid.

"We spoke this morning about the project and about how important it is for Lake Placid residents to be involved in the design process as the Hilton moves forward." said Grant. "Mr. Deforrest confirmed that he will be coming to Lake Placid to meet with us. I think they know now that we have to work together as a community."

The Adirondack Park & Lake Placid
The Adirondack Park is over 6 million acres of public and private land located in Upstate New York and is the first great preserved wilderness in the United States. Lake Placid is set in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, in the northeastern part of the Park.
The Adirondack Park was established in 1892 by the New York State Legislature in an effort to protect this pristine wilderness from loggers and developers. Today, the Adirondack Park is facing many zoning and land development challenges in order to continue to preserve the character and quality of life enjoyed in this unique region.

Land Development Issues
The design of a community can reduce land, pavement, water and driving consumption. Poorly planned development threatens our environment, our health, and our quality of life in numerous ways.
All development projects should preserve quality of life for both existing and future residents. Whenever possible, a project should also be designed to enhance quality of life.
A good Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will achieve both goals by meeting the following three criteria:
All reasonable alternatives for achieving the project goals should be evaluated, including no-build;
All quality of life impacts, both positive and negative, resulting from each alternative must be identified; and
Each alternative must be ranked objectively with respect to cumulative and individual quality of life impacts.

The 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 Lake Placid Hilton Redevelopment Plan

The Lake Placid Hilton has proposed a five story condominium project on the site of the Hilton-owned Lake View Motel on Saranac Avenue and Mirror Lake Drive in downtown Lake Placid. This project calls for a 46-unit condominium complex on the site of their existing Lake View Motel on Mirror Lake Drive.
Request for four variances
The project must receive four different variances from the Adirondack Park Agency and local Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals.
The first variance request is to allow for more parking spaces than are currently allowed in the C-1 zoning district.
The second variance is for a conditional use variance because the building would be closer than 100 feet to a residential district.
The third variance is a request to construct the building 19 feet and 10 inches higher than the 30 feet maximum height currently allowed.
The fourth variance is for a significant setback in the front yard of the building.
To learn more about this project and to express your opinions please read and click on the banner below.





'Condo Plans Face Strong Opposition'
WPTZ aired an interview with Rob Grant about the Hilton Redevelopment Project 'December 6th' on the 6pm & 11pm News.

click here to go to the WPTZ website and watch the interview. Go to search, enter key words- Condo Plans Face Strong Opposition


North Country Public Radio airs on-going series about mega-real estate developments:
Interview with Rob Grant about the Save Lake Placid grassroots opposition to the proposed Hilton Redevelopment Project
click here to listen to entire story or email it to a friend



Friday December 8, 2006

HILTON WITHDRAWS PLAN FOR LP CONDO COMPLEX

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 Hilton’s 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 we’re 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 they’ve 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.” “It’s a very exciting moment for a lot of us,” he 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.”

Grant said they don’t 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 you’re 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 they’ve 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.





Friday December 8, 2006
Hilton pulls condo plan for now

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 Hilton’s 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.

DeForest 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.

But that doesn’t mean the project is finished. DeForest said he plans to meet with some of the concerned residents to start working on a proposal that would be “less of a challenge for the people who have voiced their concerns at this point.”

“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 site’s property line on Signal Hill. The project would have blocked the couple’s view of Mirror Lake, and they have started two Web sites and several petitions to oppose the project.

“I think it’s 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.”


The Press Republican.com
Hilton proposal withdrawn

By: By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Staff Writer
December 08, 2006
LAKE PLACID — Owners of the Hilton Lake Placid Resort have withdrawn plans to build a five-story, 46-unit condominium complex at the edge of Mirror Lake Drive.

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.”

DeForrest’s 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 Hilton’s 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 DeForrest’s statement. “We won round one. I think what he’s 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, he’s 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.

“I’m a happy girl,” she said. “We’ve been good neighbors with the Hilton for years; we often work on various programs together.”
The Summit Hotel just completed renovations, which include a glass-walled restaurant that overlooks Mirror Lake.

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 don’t think they anticipated the community’s reaction.”

Mr. Grant called the withdrawal “a wonderful display of community support and a wonderful victory for Lake Placid.

“I’m 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 you’re 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 they’ve done the right thing.”

Zoning Board Chairman Ken Jubin said it was the applicant’s prerogative to withdraw the application.

“I don’t think it’s my position to think anything about it,” he said. “We’ll 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.”

E-mail Kim Smith Dedam at:
kdedam@pressrepublican.com




We invite you to read and sign our petitions, either opposing or supporting this project. These petitions will be presented to the Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals (when and if) the Hilton resubmits its application.
click here for petition opposing the project
December 2006
Lake Placid Community Petition

Re: Hilton Redevelopment Project:

To: The Lake Placid Zoning Board Of Appeals

I am signing this document to express my concern about the Hilton Redevelopment Project currently before this board. I feel that the variances that the developers are requesting are excessive and extraordinary in nature and that, if granted, will result in a profound and extremely undesirable change in the unique character of our community and the Village of Lake Placid.

The residential setback variances being requested will extend this commercial project deep into the heart of one of the oldest and most beautiful residential neighborhoods in Lake Placid destroying the remarkable character of historic Signal Hill.

The extraordinary height variances being requested exceed the maximum allowable code by an additional 19' & 10" and do not include the architectural towers rising above the roof line which will add an additional 8' to 10' in height. Such a profound height variance will alter the Lake Placid skyline as seen from every angle around Mirror Lake and will virtually obliterate the precious View Shed of Mirror Lake and the Adirondack mountains from Signal Hill and the surrounding village.

Additionally, the significant storm water runoff created by the required parking lots and expansive roof line will channel directly down hill and into our Mirror Lake Watershed depositing chemicals and toxins into this fragile body of water.

Ultimately, the sheer size and scope of the proposed Hilton Condo Hotel project threatens to undermine the very character of our unique village and exchange a feeling of small-town Adirondack life for one of large-scale resort development.

click here to sign petition

click here to print out a large petition for your neighborhood



click here for petition supporting the project
December 2006
Lake Placid Community Petition

Re: Hilton Redevelopment Project:

To: The Lake Placid Zoning Board Of Appeals

I am signing this document to express my support for the Hilton Redevelopment Project currently before this board. I feel that this project will benefit our community and the Village of Lake Placid.

click here to sign petition



You may print these petitions and mail to:
Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals
c/o Kenneth C. Jubin
PO Box 808
Lake Placid NY 12946

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.


Photo gallery of Lake Placid community meeting to review the Hilton Redevelopment Project


Public Comment Message Board

A message board has been created for the public to update information and post comments and opinions on critical zoning issues in Lake Placid.

Feel free to join the discussion. All opinions are welcome!
Please- Click here to post your message.
To read what others have posted Click here

Email your opinions and comments to us.
If you would like to send a letter, comment or opinion directly to us please click on
the link below.


email: comments@LakePlacidZoning.com


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.

The Project
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).
During the past few years, the Lake Placid/North Elba community has experienced increasing growth pressures stimulated by tourism, sports events, second home development and a steady migration of year-around residents. In 2004, the JPC undertook a weeklong intensive assessment of the community's growth management practices, led by the consulting firm of AKRF. The Growth Management Assessment consisted of seven workshops, concluding with a presentation of the firm's findings. The assessment outlined a “blueprint” of priorities for improving the community’s growth management practices, one of which was to update the Joint Land Use Code.

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. '
Georgia Jones



"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".
Barry Press



Letter from:
Prof. Clinton J. Andrews AICP PhD

Director of Urban Planning Program, Rutgers University
(for identification purposes only)

December 3, 2006
Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals
Lake Placid, NY 12946
Subject: Hilton Redevelopment Project

Dear Board Members:

The four variances sought for the proposed project seem unwise and should not be granted. I argue from basic principles of good land use planning that additional parking, inadequate setback from a residential neighborhood, excessive building height, and excessive front setback will all harm the public interest. Of these, the most important consideration is adjacency to a residential neighborhood.

The fundamental rationales for zoning are to separate incompatible land uses, improve public health and quality of life, and maintain stable property values.

In the downtown area, density is desirable but it must also be compatible with the character of the existing built environment. New buildings should not be dramatically taller or more massive than existing buildings. Hence, the height variance should not be granted.

The proposed project lies at the border between commercial and standard residentially zoned areas (on the proposed zoning map).

Good planning practice recommends that a proposed commercial or other intensively used property abutting a standard residential property blend in harmoniously with the adjacent pre-existing land use.

Part of the solution is to create a gradual transition so that the edge of the proposed project is compatible in terms of massing and building height with adjacent residential properties.

In addition, it will be important to separate the incompatible land uses using substantial setbacks and vegetation buffers. Hence, the variance allowing a less-than-100 foot setback from residential neighbors should not be granted.

To encourage a walkable downtown, parking belongs at the rear of downtown structures, providing a further rationale for a substantial setback from neighboring residential properties. The requested variance for additional parking spaces should not be granted because it will exacerbate the walkability problem.

The requested variance for a large front setback should not be granted because it detracts from the intimate, walkable, visually interesting downtown feeling of Lake Placid.

Finally, I note that views are a strong determinant of property values, hence preservation of neighbors’ views is a valid consideration for a Zoning Board of Appeals not to grant a variance.

I encourage the Zoning Board of Appeals to uphold principles of good planning practice in their decision on the proposed development.

Sincerely,

Prof. Clinton J. Andrews AICP PhD

Terrace Avenue, Lake Placid NY 12946




"The purpose of the Lake Placid building code is to "preserve the character of the community" This project, as proposed, totally ignores this criteria."
Rozette Press



"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. "
Terry Kent
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 HILTON’S CONDO COMPLEX
by- Chris Knight WNBZ
AM 1240, FM Y106.3

The Lake Placid Hilton’s 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.

“It’s 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 Hilton’s 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 property’s 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 Hilton’s 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. “There’s other buildings on Main Street he’s incorporated into his design to make this part of the fabric of the community and not something that doesn’t 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. “They’ve been very cordial,” she said. “But it would have significant impact on us.”

The neighbors have also hired a local attorney who’s trying to contact other property owners who will be impacted by the loss of their view.

Barbee says they planned to lease the new restaurant in the next three months, but those people have now backed out. She thinks it’s because of what the Hilton has proposed. “I do believe that’s the reason they decided to pull out of the project,” she said. “They were excited for a lake front view. We’ll probably end up operating it ourselves.”

Lake Placid Views

Letter from:
Charles E. Walsh, Esquire

Charles E. Walsh
2359 Saranac Ave.
PO Box 391
Lake Placid, New York 12946
(518) 523-3304






Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Rebuffed, Hilton tries to balance economics, neighbors

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 don’t 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 Hilton’s 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 Hospitality’s 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 didn’t come to fruition, Deforrest will spend the next couple of weeks gathering neighbors’ input, meeting with local government officials and bringing in the project’s architect, C.T. Male and Associates, to revamp the design and hopefully create a proposal that isn’t so offensive to the community.

“The only time you can rethink a project is before you start it,” Deforrest said.

“I’m not unrealistic; you can’t make everybody happy — we want to be good neighbors.”

That sentiment is something Rob Grant said gives him hope.

“My hope is that he’s really going to work with the community,” Grant said.

Deforrest, who manages the Lake Placid Hilton, said that though he lives in Chicago, Lane Hospitality’s presence in Lake Placid is not new.

“We’ve 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.

“We have an obligation to look at the future success of the village,” he said.


Press Release
Dec. 20th 10 am

Hilton Update - Meeting with Bill DeForrest & John Dodson - Tuesday 19th, 10 AM

Bill DeForrest, CEO of Lane Hospitality & John Dodson, General Manger of the Hilton Hotel met with Rob & Pat Grant Tuesday morning at their home on Signal Hill in Lake Placid to discuss the ongoing Hilton Redevelopment project.

"It was a very good and productive meeting" according to Grant."This was the first time any of us had the opportunity to meet in person. Actions always speak louder than words. I give Bill DeForrest a lot of credit for taking the time to meet with us at our home and to spend several hours discussing this project."

The purpose of the meeting was to give both parties the opportunity to discuss the concerns and issues raised by the ongoing controversy surrounding the proposed Hilton Redevelopment project. Hilton Hotel & Lane Hospitality had been scheduled to appear at a Public Hearing on Dec. 18th to present their plans for a five story condo/hotel project. However, the size and scope of the Hilton project sparked such a huge public outcry that Lane Hospitality pulled their application and canceled the public hearing late last week. It now appears that the Hilton Hotel project will go back to the drawing boards as Lane Hospitality decides how best to respond to the Lake Placid community and address the many issues raised by the original plan.

"It looks like Lane Hospitality is sincere about their desire to create a project that the community will find acceptable." said Grant. "Bill DeForrest has already agreed to meet with us again in January and to speak with members of the neighborhood and community. Mr DeForrest has also extended a rather unusual offer to us. He asked if we would like to be involved in the redesign process as this project moves forward. Our response was yes, if it stays within the acceptable zoning code!"

However, as Bill DeForrest has candidly admitted to the Grants, the problem still remains that the Hilton is outdated and that market research indicates that today's tourist and condo buyer wants bigger and more luxurious rooms.

"The fundamental dilemma for the Hilton is that their current footprint and lot size simply is not big enough for the project they have proposed. This leaves the Hilton with two choices". said Grant. "They can either design a project that's appropriate for their lot size and which conforms to Lake Placids legal zoning code - or they can try to defy the current zoning code and request variances that essentially take away land from neighboring property owners resulting in a massive structure that nobody in Lake Placid wants or feels is appropriate for our village."

The Hilton controversy has also raised public awareness about the future direction of Lake Placid and how much growth the village can withstand before permanent damage is done to the unique Alpine character of the community. There is growing concern among many Lake Placid residents that 'Enough Is Enough'.

"We told Bill DeForrest that he has a unique opportunity to be a hero in the Lake Placid community... if he is willing to listen to what people are telling him and redesign a project that is scaled-down and in keeping with the character of Lake Placid." said Grant.
"This will be a pivotal moment for Lake Placid where responsible growth and leadership go head-to-head with profit and greed."


For contact information:

www.SaveLakePlacid.com
www.LakePlacidZoning.com
comments@savelakeplacid.com

C/O Rob Grant
518-891-3745 Office
518-572-4633 Cell










North Elba, NY
North Elba is situated in the northwestern portion of the county and is best known as home to the 1932 and 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. Until 1849, North Elba was a part of the town of Keene.
In 1868, in his History of Essex County, Watson described the North Elba plateau and plains as equal in fertility to those of the Mohawk Valley. Early settlers, Watson supposes, reached the area from the northeast by way of the Saranac River. The very first settler, Elijah Bennet, is thought to have come through Keene by way of the Old Mountain Road. Watson claims that vestiges of Indian occupation in North Elba prove that Indians once occupied the area in great numbers.
copy from the Essex County Historical Society / Adirondack History Center


 

Lake Placid Area Photos


Lake Placid by Carl Heilman
  
 
1920 Lake Placid
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