Condo project stirs debate

Staff Writer
December 07, 2006

LAKE PLACID — On Saturday, the Lake Placid Zoning Board of Appeals will review site specifics for the proposed development of 46 Hilton Lake Placid Resort condominiums.

The site visit at 1 p.m. includes test-balloon flights on Signal Hill to allow planners to visualize the height of the project, which some say will destroy views and values of neighboring properties overlooking Mirror Lake.

Owners of the Summit Hotel, directly behind where the condos would rise, have said publicly that the new building would be detrimental to their business operation.

Rob and Pat Grant, who own a home adjacent to the proposed condo site, are appalled at its scope and launched a new Web site Wednesday to raise public awareness.

Mr. Grant said he will attend the site review Saturday and has pored over project plans at the Town Hall.

"We want to raise public awareness of how big this project actually is," he said Wednesday. "They have segmented the plan. The master plan includes a build-out on the other side of Saranac Avenue, too, which will tower over residential areas of Hillcrest Avenue."

Four zoning variances are required for the Signal Hill portion of the Hilton development, which is being managed by CT Male, a design firm in Latham.

The Hilton Lake Placid Resort is owned by Lane Hospitality based in Northbrook, Ill.

The four variances are:

A 67-foot variance of the 100-foot residential setback requiring separation of the condo project from residential homes.
A height variance asking for an additional 19-foot, 10-inch extension above the 30-foot height restriction.
A reduction in the standard-size parking spot so the lot can accommodate more vehicles in the existing footprint.
Elimination of the setback requirement on Mirror Lake Drive.

Mrs. Grant said the height variance addresses only part of the design, since plans show turrets extend above the roofline another 8 to 10 feet.

"The 46 condos can be divided in half," Mr. Grant said, increasing time-share capacity and adding transience to homeownership in Lake Placid.

The reported sale price of the condos would start near $500,000.

"Why could this even be considered by the Planning Board?" Mr. Grant said. "If you're the public and relying on (village) officials to protect you and that protection is compromised, what are you going to do?"

The citizens group has discussed litigation, Rob said.

Ken Jubin, chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, said the decision-making process includes public input.

"I am confident there is a framework in place that the public can use as a conduit allowing their comments to be considered in the decision-making process."

Public hearings may continue into January and February to accommodate all who wish to speak.

"We're committed, needless to say," Mr. Grant said. "We're going to fight the good fight, and we're using the Internet to level the playing field."

The first public hearing on the Hilton project is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18, at the Town Hall.