By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
Both of Rich Schermerhorn’s projects on the Lake George Planning Board agenda last week were tabled and will return for public hearings on Tuesday, March 12, Lake George Director of Planning Dan Barusch tells The Chronicle.
That meeting, at 5 p.m. in the Town Offices, will likely also be viewable on Zoom, Mr. Barusch said.
“We’re working through a lot of the technical stuff,” he said. “The engineers have been right on top of the storm water, water, sewer issues, and we’re on top of the zoning aspect of it. And those things are getting flushed out as we go along.
“Some of the neighbors’ concerns have been addressed through plan revisions,” Mr. Barusch said, “but the general consensus among them is this is a little too much for our neighborhood of single family dwellings.”
He said, “It’s really going to be up to the Planning Board to determine what’s a neighborhood, what’s the neighborhood that we’re looking at? And is this compatible within that?
“If they’re looking at just the surrounding properties? Yes, those are all single family dwellings. But if they’re looking at the larger area, the zoning district or something that’s a bit bigger, there’s other multifamily units being built on Bloody Pond.”
Mr. Barusch said he invited Lake George Park Commission Executive Director David Wick to comment on storm water. Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky also weighed in with comments, some, said Mr. Barush, that “I personally also had questions or concerns about at least being addressed.” He said they were sent back to the developer to answer.
Storage facility: ‘A little large?’
Meanwhile, the board held initial Site Plan Review for Mr. Schermerhorn’s proposed self storage project on a 12-acre vacant property near Northway Exit 21, across from the Mobil station.
Mr. Barusch said the Planning Board’s “main concern…is making sure there is a really good buffer between Route 9N, and even off the interstate. You can see a lot of the property from the off ramp. They wanted to see the buffer spruced up a little more. They certainly want to hide such a large development.”
“It’s almost 100,000 square feet,” Mr. Barusch says. The Planning Board also questioned whether Mr. Schermerhorn had done a market study on “how many units are even needed in the area.”
“I think there was 400 units, something like that. That’s a lot,” said Mr. Barusch.
His perspective? “From a planning standpoint, it’s a little much in terms of how much impervious (pavement or ground cover) is planned, and the amount of proposed units. But it is an allowable use there.”
Schermerhorn: ‘Confident it’ll work’
Jon Lapper, Mr. Schermerhorn’s attorney and spokesperson, told The Chronicle separately, “We are in the process this week of making engineering responses on the open remaining issues, which aren’t that many.”
He said, “We’re sensitive to the fact that (the Bloody Pond neighbors) didn’t expect this, but there’s three other multifamily projects within a few hundred feet and one’s a little more than that, but in the same zoning district, which is extending sewer and water. That’s where the multifamilies are supposed to go.
“We’re trying to make it as soft a project as we can with buffering. We made some changes this time in response to what the neighbors and the board said, so it keeps getting better.”
“I’m confident that it’ll all work out.”
Regarding the self-storage facility, Mr. Lapper said, “The same answer. The size is what fits without a variance. The project is very well buffered, but we’re gonna augment the buffering.”
“All these projects, it’s a back and forth process. When there’s a legitimate issue that needs to be mitigated, it gets mitigated. We’re trying to do as good a job as possible. And you know, Rich is always cognizant of that.”
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