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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!
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We are posting comments and opinions from concerned citizens as these come in to us.
Please read these posts below:

"I have attended both meetings with the reps from the Hilton. My comments at the first meeting dealt with the following issues: I suggested that the development team read all of the letters that were sent to Jim Morganson's office in anticipation of the December public meeting that was cancelled. I thought that, like me, many people are not comfortable speaking in public and that our thoughts are better conveyed through writing. In the letters they would find much of the concerns of citizens expressed. My second point was that the size of the project at that time, was way out of scale for the size of the lot and its location to Main Street. My third point was about feeling like this project was so enormous that our Stevens/Swiss Road neighborhood would in fact become part of the resort compound due to size, noise, traffic, lights, and a massive wall of building that resembles an aircraft carrier parked on Mirror Lake Drive.
At the second meeting, with the scaled back project, I was concerned about the number of the parking spaces vs. the number of people occupying the units and the noise and lighting pollution resulting from the parking area. The encroachment into setbacks is still a concern as is the viewshed down Saranac Ave and from Main Street. It is still too overwhelming for that location. What was a pleasnt surprise was how much they have downscaled the project and the fact they will leave the driveway and brown house as a buffer zone. What would be ideal is for the project to require NO setback variances at all. I challenge the design team to strive for just that objective."
Lisa C. Townson
Lake Placid

"I have just finished reading the various letters, comments and proposed plans for the expansion of the Hilton complex. Having first visited Lake Placid when I was 13 years old (50 years ago) I have seen numerous changes in the village some good some bad. Even at that early age I was impressed by not only the village but the Adirondacks as a whole. Where the Hilton now stands was a beautiful white house with lawn that went to the main street. The Adirondacks left such a lasting image with me that over the years it has drawn me back to the area time and time again. To have a 13 year old with this impression you must have something very special. In this age when the almighty dollar seems to dictate everthing ,people and groups who want to try to preserve the beauty and uniqueness of the village and area should be congratulated. If not Lake Placid will eventually become nothing more than one big commercial piece of land as so many other places in our world have ended up being. You have one of the greatest areas to visit - stand up, protect it for future generations to enjoy. "
Bill & Cathy Russell
Napanee, Ontario

"I wanted to congratulate you and Pat. I realize we’re not out of the woods yet, but I was very impressed with how much the Hilton appears to have scaled back their project. I am still concerned about site lines on the four floor condos from my property, but I am pleased that they have revised their goals and the scope of their project.

Thanks so much for all of your hard work."

Terry Kent
Executive Director
U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation

Rob and Pat --- Our praise and appreciation for all your efforts is
long overdue, but the February 16th Lake Placid News ad takes the
cake .... simply outstanding in terms of message, style and
content. You have elevated the entire subject of planning and
development to a new level of community awareness and concern in a
truly professional, honest, factual fashion.

Ever since the new owners took over Whiteface Club & Resort in 2004 we have been coping with endless issues of scale, uses and usage for the 1.43 acre waterfront parcel which is the "keyhole" to Placid Lake for the entire Whiteface operation including 1) property owners, 2) general public, 3) adjacent condominiums which they manage and 4) deeded Moongate properties. Nothing is ever enough. We've been delayed in obtaining DEC "Freedom of Information" records regarding
the latest Whiteface management ploy, i.e. to move the docks further out into Placid Lake to an distance of 150 feet from shore. We hope to have those documents in hand later this week. Not surprisingly, Whiteface Club waited until February, after we had left for a Florida vacation, to meet with the Joint Review Board and we never received the certified letter which was supposedly sent.
We'll continue to do our "watchdog" best in our little corner of
Placid Lake.
Paul Dooling

Monday March 12, 2007
I attended the 3/7 meeting. Unfortunately there were to few residents in attendance. I'm sure this was because of the last minute notice. We must try and make sure that if there is another meeting in April it should be at the end of the month.
The meeting was informative. I could not stay for the entire meeting. I did ask a few questions and made a statement or two. They have made a good attempt at revising the project. I'm not 100% sure as to how it will now affect the view etc side of the street.

1.)I asked them if they knew what variances they would need and they said no.
2.)As for the Lakeside building plan. They basically want to come out to the Summit building line on Saranac ave. They advise that the building would be graduated. From 1 level up to 3 where the parking lot entrance is off the street. I believe this will kill the view that everyone enjoys when driving into town on Saranac ave. Ofcourse with out the actual architectural plans we cannot tell for sure. I did mention to them that this portion of the project in my opinion would be problematic.

Best regards,

Monday March 12, 2007
I am all for restrictive development that conforms to the building and zoning codes of Lake Placid – THE APA and the town of North Elba.

I am not in favor of a hotel corporation renting its rooms for less than the cost of a ski ticket mid week and giving the ski ticket to the guest just to turn dollars in this town. They even give a free breakfast. If this hotel is supposed to be a world leader they need to recognize that giving the room away is not good for anyone.

I find it hard to believe that we are talking about less than 50 units. They have this presently in the current structure. Why invest the vast amounts of money they plan to for a mere 50- units . Joe Barelle built a lot more and sold them for a lot more.

I could be more understanding if I truly believed that they will have the staffing facilities for these rooms since we already are short staffed everywhere.

The impact on the Hillcrest residential homes will be devestastional if approved in its current format. The time frame to complete the building is at least five years. Think of the noise and construction the tourists and guests will have to survive.

Our nice neighborhood is going to be gone with the addition of these buildings. It is unfortunate but the Saranac Avenue corridor will become just another TUNNEL like the Holland Tunnel once the construction is finished.

Joe Brooks

Saturday March 10, 2007

Please be advised that a Channel 5 News crew was in Lake Placid today (Saturday 3/10) shooting a story on the Hilton project for broadcast tonight @ 6pm & 11PM.

Please also send us your comments and feedback for posting on regarding last weeks meeting & proposed new Hilton plans.

We will have DVD's of this meeting available for anyone who would like a copy.

Hi Rob & Friends,
I am mailing the DVD back on 3/7 with a small donation to cover postage & supplies. The DVD was very enlightening. I feel much more informed on the developemental issues facing LP. Thanks for the coverage of this project from the Hilton and homeowner perspective.
One suggestion: Some resident's questions could not be heard (they spoke too softly). Someone should repeat the questions loud & clear for the benefit of the DVD audience. I look forward to watching future meetings as they become available. Please keep me on your "regular" list, if possible. Keep up the great work!
Best Regards,
Chuck Ambiell
PO Box 54
Chester, NJ 07930

"The proposed Hilton Redevelopment Project sits at the base of Signal Hill, a residential neighborhood. This neighborhood co-exists with other commercial properties like the Mirror Lake Inn. The character on this side of Saranac Avenue is very different than the Main Street corridor. It is ?green? with lawns and trees, open spaces. At the February 7th meeting, Mr. DeForrest and the new architects appeared to be sincerely interested in working with the community to design and build a condominium project that will be in keeping with the town?s unique Alpine character. The architects will have the privilege to design a beautiful building and grounds that fit harmoniously into our picturesque community. They will have the opportunity to design a building that stays within the zoning laws that exist to protect us. We have given them a difficult task, but not one that cannot be accomplished. Today?s condominium buyers may want something larger and more luxurious than what we have to offer today, but I think that the buyer would want to own a condominium that fits beautifully into the community, not one that has a negative effect on the landscape. Like others in the community, I would like to see plans for the entire project including waterfront. Like others in my neighborhood, I am concerned about the tremendous impact this project will have on us personally. I would like to thank Mr. DeForrest and others for providing us with the opportunity to express our views on this project. I hope they came away from the meeting with a greater understanding of our community, our citizens, and our concerns "
Iris Havlicek Signal Hill Resident

"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

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"

I'm very pleased with the efforts on the Hilton project. It has taken some thing like this to awaken the people of LP. There several other projects in and the village and town which also desevere attention. The Hurley Bros. 30,000 propane storage tank on Station St. The River Bend project off Station and Old Military Rd. The Zoning and Pannning boards both need to have closer supervision buy the Town and Village officals. The attorney fees from their actions need to be looked into.
R. Smith

My friend Jack Geortner subscribes to NCPR and gets their daily newscast.
Last week he sent me the item about the Hilton controversy in LP in which
you were interviewed. I emailed him back with this message: "I
would put my money on Rob over Hilton Hotels any day." it was with delight,
then, that I received Jack's email today with an NCPR link announcing HH's
decision to scrap the plan. Bravo!

Cheers, and I hope all is well.


Jeff Petersen
Associate Publisher

Congratulations on your amazingly successful grass-roots campaign to halt the Hilton over-development on Mirror Lake! I logged onto your website this morning to get the talking points for our letter to the Zoning Board, and was delighted to see that you've already slowed the project to a standstill. That is great news.

Alton and I wrote a letter (and sent the petition) anyway, since there may be additional rounds of negotiation, and it doesn't hurt to have extra letters. I'm attaching a copy of the letter in case you'd like to have it for your files. We certainly hope the project is not resurrected.

Bravo again on your community organizing!

Warm wishes,
Elizabeth and Alton

I am a native of lake placid fo 50 years. And i do NOT want anymore condos built in my village! Especially on Mirror Lake. When is enough ,enough? Ruin beautiful Mirror Lake forever? Let them build their CONDOS out at the bobrun or the airport overlooking the BEAUTIFUL Olympic ski jumps. how about that? i really love this village, and i have seen quite a few changes in the last 30 years. is our town really PLACID, like it's name or should it be called lake plenty,, plenty of condos? i do not know where this letter is going, or who will read it but, if you have the power to stop all this developing, and keep lake placid ,our beautiful little village from becoming, well too modern, please STOP IT! I think i speak for other NATIVES, not so called locals, as they call us. Do not let them build any more. we love lake placid the way it is. you have my support and everyone of the people i know who grew up here too!

December 8, 2006

Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals
c/o Kenneth C. Jubin
PO Box 808
Lake Placid NY 12946

Subject: Hilton Redevelopment Project

Dear Board Members,

We would like to express our concern about the proposed Hilton Redevelopment Project. We feel that the variances that the developers are requesting are excessive and, if granted, will result in undesirable changes in the unique character the Village of Lake Placid.

The residential setback variances being requested are of serious concern, as they will extend the Village's commercial zone into a beautiful and historic residential neighborhood, reducing property values, degrading residential quality of life, and undermining scenic values on Signal Hill.

The height variances, which do not include the architectural towers rising above the roof line, will alter the Lake Placid/Mirror Lake skyline. Scenic views are one of the Village's most important scenic aspects, linked to quality of life and to tourism revenues.

The placement of parking areas in the also appear to directly interfere with the goal of an attractive, walkable downtown. Storm water runoff created by the required parking lots and roof line will drain into the Mirror Lake watershed and, if untreated, will deposit oil residues and toxins into this fragile body of water.

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. We urge the Zoning Board of Appeals to safeguard the qualities that make the Village of Lake Placed a wonderful place to visit, live, and do business.


Alton C. Byers, Ph.D.

"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

"If it isn't one jerk it's another. We are really up against it! The almighty dollar is what is driving this poor plan for expansion. Keep up the good work Rob!"
JoAnn Cancro

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Thank God you won!! That's awesome!
Phil M.

We are very interested in this organization, as we feel our town is getting beyond it's quaint, hometown feel that we all appreciate it for. If you need more help of volunteers to spread the message, count us in.

Michael and Cammy Sheridan
PO Box 186
53 Quail Lane
Lake Placid, NY 12946

' 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 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 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

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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.


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

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December 8, 2006

Guest Commentary
Lake Placid News
6179 Sentinel Ave
Lake Placid, NY 12946

Good News? Bad News? That really is the question you might want to ask
yourself about the proposed Hilton Redevelopment Project located on Mirror
Lake Drive. I know that for me, the answer is bad news. I've never paid
enough attention to area zoning laws (like most of us, I've been busy.)
But this project is different for me because it is being built in my front
yard. No one else will be as adversely affected as I am, but the reason
you may want to pay attention is because, as I have learned, what effects
me will probably at some time effect you if you own a home in Lake Placid.

The Hilton Redevelopment Project is proposing a 46 unit Condo/Hotel
directly in front of my home. This project will replace the Hilton motel
extension on Mirror Lake Drive. I live on Swiss Road, which is loosely
considered to be part of the "Signal Hill" neighborhood. If I'm having a
pizza or a bed delivered I just say I live right across the street from
Dr. Bergamini, and that usually works for me. This district is labeled
R-1A (Residential) in the land use codebook (This book is very, very thick
and lives in Jim Morganson's office on the 3rd floor of the town hall.)
The land use codebook made clear my current rights as a residential
property owner; what my restrictions were with regard to setbacks and
height restrictions for my home. It also spelled out for me the rights of
my commercial neighbor, The Hilton.

The Hilton's land use code is C-1 for commercial properties. Two of the
many C-1 restrictions are:
1. No building, parking or service area shall be closer than 100 feet to
a Residential District
2. The Maximum height for C-1 Zone is 30 feet.

The Hilton developers are seeking four variances from the current land use
code. Two of these concern the above listed restrictions. The Hilton has
asked to take back 67 feet of the 100-foot setback that protects me, the
residential neighbor, from them for a parking lot. This will make the
buffer 33 feet instead of 100 feet. So now there will be a parking lot 33
feet from my front yard. My house sits close to my property line so the
effect is that my house is now sitting in the parking lot of the new
Hilton Condo owners. The original intention of the land use code was to
protect me, the residential neighbor, from the noise, fumes, and lights
from commercial use. Is there any sane reason why the Hilton should be
granted this setback variance? Sixty-seven feet is an insane request, but
frankly, as I've paid my mortgage and taxes on this property for eighteen
years and worked in the community for as many, I don't see how I can be
reasonably expected to give up any of this setback to developers. Can you?

Pretty much the same argument goes for the height variance the developer
is requesting. They are looking for 19 feet 10 inches above the 30 feet
allowed in the land use code. This then seems like it would wind the
project up at about 50 feet high in front of my house. When I look at the
drawings for this project, it appears that the building in front of my
house will be 69-72 feet in height (I have asked several people, including
town building personnel if this can possibly be true. Since they are only
asking for 19'10, how did we get to 72 feet? I know the height code is
difficult to interpret, but I don't think it was the intention of the code
to exceed the 30-foot limit by 42 feet.) I will no longer have a view of
the lake and mountains, which I have enjoyed for the last 18 years.

Isn't it ironic that as I'm just about to pay off my home mortgage, not
only will the value of it be taken away, but also my personal enjoyment of
it? And here's the final bit of irony. if we don't get this project to
consider the rights of the neighboring home-owners, someone, probably from
Connecticut or Northern New Jersey, will have been offered my land and
view, by a developer from Illinois, who will receive somewhere between
$500 -1.5 million dollars for each of the 46 units, and neither the
developer nor the second home owner will ever live here.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the future of the year-round
resident is really what is at stake here.

If you live here, come to a public hearing for this project on December 18
at the Town Hall at 7PM. Maybe we can help each other understand this
project and our rights as residents of Lake Placid.

Pat Grant
37 Swiss Road
Lake Placid, NY 12946

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To the Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals:

I have lived in Lake Placid as a seasonal resident since 1950 and have been a home owner since 1961. I make the 6 hour drive from Rhode Island happily because I am drawn by the beauty of mountains, forests and lakes. They refresh my soul. In recent years I have been aware of increasing cars and people on the village streets, taking away from the restful atmosphere of the past. Now this outsize HIlton hotel/condo construction plan will further alter the landscape, and the rural character of Lake Placid Village will further deteriorate. I have watched the condos go up along the coastline of Rhode Island over the past 10 years. It can happen very quickly, if the community is not alert to the danger. I think that Lake Placid residents should unite to fight this project, and to save their community.

Barbara A. Hail
Curator Emerita
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Brown University