This website is designed to help concerned citizens defend and protect the unique character and quality of our Lake Placid community and its fragile environment from the impact of overdevelopment. This site is supported by the many concerned citizens of Lake Placid who passionately care about the future of their community.
Just Call Him David
One problem attractive small towns face is their very attractiveness. What draws visitors and new citizens and makes for community pride often interests developers wanting to develop. Not that all development is bad. We all need places to live, shop, recreate and eat. Many new projects start with a plan to build to the scale and character of a town, fit in with zoning regulations and are welcomed by the community.
Then there are the other developments. The big, the bad, the uglywhere profit can trump preservation of small town character.
So it was with Lake Placid,
New York, in 2006
In June, the landmark hotel on the corner of Main Street and Saranac Avenue will be rebranded High Peaks Resort by Lane Hospitality, the Chicago area-based company that owns the 177-room resort.
The Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board recently got its first glimpse of what the hotel may look like after its first uprade since the late 1970s.
David Schlosser of Schopfer Architects in Syracuse said they envision about seven storefronts in front of the hotel complex, which will include retail space and a restaurant with outdoor seating.
He said the idea is for the individual shops to overshadow the five-story concrete hotel, which he admitted is not very attractive.
"We're trying to make the building a little more sympathetic to the village," Schlosser said.
Joint Review Board members expressed minimal concerns at the meeting and resolved that they have enough information to move forward.
"I think it's welcomed by the community to do something with that building," said Chairman Bill Hurley. "Overall, it's a huge improvement."
Hurley set the first in what he said could be several public hearings for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, in the North Elba Town Hall in Lake Placid.
The Adirondack Park Agency has asserted that it does not have jurisdiction over the project, the Joint Review Board was told.
Construction could begin as early as this summer, depending on the speed of the permits, Schlosser said.
Joint Review Board member Horst Weber suggested the developers coordinate their construction with the 31 condominiums planned across the street to minimize impact on traffic and noise.
Meanwhile, at the board's request, the architectural plans have been left in the Town Hall and are available for public review during regular business hours.
Peaks Resort is the former Hilton. They are presenting their façade/architectural
changes for the Main building at this meeting
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.
The Hilton Resorts proposal for a 31-unit condominium complex, to be located at the current site of the Hiltons Lakeview Motel, garnered complaints at the Sept. 5 meeting of the JRB from an owner of the Summit Hotel, Nirmal Kumar, who claimed that the proposed condominiums would block the views from several of the Summits rooms.
JRB members conducted an on-site analysis of view impacts from several of the rooms but Kumar and her husband, who own the hotel, said they want another view analysis conducted by an independent firm.
I dont think there are sufficient studies addressing that issue, said Matt Norfolk, the Kumars attorney.
This will have an adverse impact, not only on the Summit Hotel but also on properties up the hill, Norfolk said.
Among other concerns the Kumars expressed was the traffic impact on Saranac Avenue and Mirror Lake Drive.
In the meantime, the project has not been approved, and developers will have to address the boards lingering concerns.
The Hiltons managing company, Lane Hospitalitys CEO Bill DeForest said the developers have presented the JRB with a stormwater runoff plan and will provide some clarifications to the JRB about the other design elements.
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.
Neighboring residents and businesses weighed in on the Hilton Lake Placid Resort's proposed condominium expansion Wednesday night at the first of what will probably be several public hearings held by the North Elba/Lake Placid Joint Review Board.
Lane Hospitality, the Chicago-based owner of the property, has proposed demolishing two sections of the Hilton's Lakeview Motel and replacing it with a three-story, 31-unit condominium complex with a 40-car covered garage. The proposal has been scaled back from an earlier design and is now in compliance with the village's land code, Lane Hospitality CEO Bill DeForrest said at Wednesday evening's public hearing.
here for entire article
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
Posted on: Friday, August 3, 2007
LAKE PLACID The Lake Placid/North Elba Joint Review Board met Wednesday for its regular meeting to review the results of an on-site visit to the Lake Placid Hilton Resorts Lakeview Motel property where the hotels managing company, Lane Hospitality, is proposing to construct a 35-unit condominium complex.
On July 24, balloons, two-by-fours and tape were positioned on the current property to delineate where the new building, if built, would sit. Developers plan to demolish the current Lakeview Hotel.
JRB members toured the site during the balloon test, viewing the property from several areas in the neighborhood and from across Mirror Lake to gauge the scope and visual impact the project would have on those views. click here for entire story
Thursday August 2, 2007
HILTON PLANS STILL BEING TWEAKED BY DEVELOPER
Plans for the 31-unit Hilton Lake Placid Resorts condominium complex are still being tweaked to satisfy local zoning requirements, the lead developer of the project said Wednesday.
Members of the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review board toured the site last week, but said very little at last nights meeting of their opinions on the overall proposal.
Board Chairman Bill Hurley did note that the design may have to be altered so that none of the habitable space exceeds the 30-foot elevation limit set by the community's code. He said the land use code only allows variances for functional purposes such as antennas.
click here for entire story
Balloon test shows JRB impact of Hilton on viewshed
By REBECCA STEFFAN
Enterprise Staff Writer
LAKE PLACID Balloons and frames made of two-by-fours and tape at the Hiltons Lakeview Motel on the corner of Mirror Lake Drive and Saranace Avenue Tuesday gave members of the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board a chance to see just how the viewshed would change if the Hilton builds a 35-unit condominium complex on that site.
The project is still being tweaked by architects, but after a complete redesign of the project after the Hiltons initial proposal for a much larger complex was met with outrage from several members of the community, one Signal Hill resident said hes pleased with Hiltons responsiveness to the communitys wishes.
The architect has done a very good job in trying to minimize the impact of the proposed building by lowering the rooflines and by varying the architecture, Rob Grant said. Theyve been very thoughtful in trying to make this project a lot more aesthetic. In that regard we are certainly much happier with the new plans. click here for entire article
Members of the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board took a tour of the site of the Hilton Lake Placid Resorts proposed 35-unit condominium complex on Tuesday evening.
The Hiltons engineers put up several balloons to mark the proposed height and footprint of the structure, to be located on the site of the existing Lakeview Building. They also used two by fours and pink flagging to show how close the end of the building would come to Saranac Avenue.
Members of the board circled the site, trying to gauge the potential visual impacts of the project from Mirror Lake Drive, Saranac Avenue, Swiss Road, Stevens Road and other locations.
Board Chairman Bill Hurley said the site visit gave them a much better idea of
whats being proposed. Weve seen it on a map, but the corners
are marked so now we know how close to each of the roads it is, he said.
The applicant provided the height on multiple points of the building so
we were able to get an idea of the impact of the viewsheds from neighboring properties
and public areas.
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.
still awaiting APA decision whether or not they have jurisdiction," Hurley
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 projects 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. Im 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 todays 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 theyve been asked to be a part of the design process as the project moves forward.
Wednesday December 20th 10 am
Hilton Update - Meeting with Bill
DeForrest & John Dodson - Tuesday 19th, 10 AM
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.
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.
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
On Friday morning Dedember 8th - 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.
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.
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.
click here for more information
Photo gallery of Lake Placid community meeting to review the Hilton Redevelopment Project