Lake George Park Commission
Meeting #340

20 December 2005

Fort William Henry

Lake George, NY



PRESIDING:                Bruce E. Young, Chair


COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT:    Joan A. Robertson               
                        Thomas K. Conerty
                        Roger H. Phinney
                        John A. Pettica, Jr.
                        Shauna DeSantis
                        (Denise Sheehan, DEC Commissioner)
                        *Thomas W. Hall, representing
                        John C.  McDonald, Jr.
                        Thomas Morhouse
                        James T. Kneeshaw


COMMISSION MEMBERS ABSENT:    None Absent


COMMISSION STAFF PRESENT:    Michael P. White, Executive Director
                        Molly Gallagher, Environmental Analyst 2
                        Lt. Joseph H. Schneider, Director of Law Enforcement
                        J. Thomas Wardell, Director of Engineering   
                        Keith Fish, Operation’s Director
                        Peggy Stevens, Principal Account Clerk
                        Michelle D. Way, Keyboard Specialist 1
                        Andrea L. Maranville, Director of Governmental &       Community Affairs


COMMISSION COUNSEL PRESENT:    Martin Auffredou

               
OTHERS PRESENT:

Lincoln Cathers            Ed Scheiber            Carol Collins
Sharon Borgos            Alison Finley            Mary Alice Leary   
Robert Birchenough        David Rafael        Tony Hall
Doug Underhill            Sylke Chesterfield        John T.  Brothers
Kim Bender                Margaret Stewart        Chris Navitsky
Ronald Montesi                Chairman Young introduced two new Commission members Mr.  James Kneeshaw of Queensbury and Mr. Thomas Morhouse of Ticonderoga who were confirmed by the Senate on November 29, 2005.

Item #1 - Introductions, Roll Call, Minutes of Meeting

The 340th meeting of the Lake George Park Commission was called to order by Chairman Young at 10:15 a.m. and the roll was taken. 

Mr. Young said that the minutes of the previous meeting were distributed in advance of this meeting to Commission members for their review.  On the motion of Thomas Conerty, seconded by Joan Robertson, all Commission members present voting affirmatively;  The minutes of meeting # 339 were approved as submitted.

Item #2 - Project Review - Public Comments on Pending Applications: 
         Molly Gallagher

Molly Gallagher read a prepared statement explaining the role of the Project Review Committee and the application process (attached).

The Chair explained the format of the meeting in regard to Project Review matters.  He said that the first portion of the Project Review is for people either for or against the project to express their comments.  He said that the second session is a discussion among Commission members to arrive at a decision.  He said that normally the only time during the second portion where there would be public participation would be if there is a need for clarification or additional information on an issue. 

Variance Request submitted by Lawrence Spraragen, Town of Fort Ann, County of Washington – #5226-18-05 & #5226-19-05

Molly Gallagher introduced this project.  She said that the applicant proposes to construct an open sided boat cover/sun deck.  She said that the reason the project is before the Commission is because this project requires a variance.

Chairman Young asked if anyone was here to speak for the project.  There was no reply.

Item #3 - Fiscal Actions Report: Peggy Stevens
 
Chairman Young said that the November Fiscal Actions Report was distributed with the meeting package to all of the members.  Everyone should have received a copy, he said.  He asked if there were any questions on the report.  There were none.

On the motion of John McDonald, seconded by Roger Phinney, all members present voting affirmatively, the November Fiscal Actions Report was approved as submitted.



Item #4 - Lake George Park Commission Accounting Program Software Update: Keith G.  Fish

Keith Fish addressed the Commission members.  He asked the Commission members to approve Resolution 2005-83 which authorizes the Commission to purchase new accounting software. 

Keith Fish said that the software that is currently in use was purchased in 1999 and it has become technologically obsolete.  He said that the support for the program has practically dwindled to nothing.

Mr.  Fish said that the staff members of the Lake George Park Commission have done an extensive review of several different software programs.  He said that the staff members have rated each firm based on three different criteria.  They are as follows; usability, support and cost.

He said that Commission staff have decided to go with a company called Cougar Mountain who are based out of Idaho but maintain a small office in Albany, New York.

Thomas Conerty read and moved to approve Resolution 2005-83 which was seconded by Joan Robertson and all Commission members present voted affirmatively.

        WHEREAS, the Commission is required to collect fees, accept grants and other payments in order to fund its programs, and

        WHEREAS, the collection, administration and dispersal of these funds must be accurately tracked and reported, and

        WHEREAS, the current accounting system has been in use for 6 years and has become technologically obsolete, and

        WHEREAS, staff has performed an extensive review of accounting applications and support options currently available, and

        WHEREAS, staff has selected an accounting software package and support provider that provides the best value to fulfills the needs of the Commission based on the price, features and quality of support,

        NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Chairman is hereby authorized to approve an expenditure not to exceed $14,405.53 for accounting system software, installation and training, consistent with State Finance Law and the Office of the State Comptroller.

Item #5 - Project Review: Resolutions

Resolution 2005 - 81 — Project Review Report

Joan Robertson read and moved to approve Resolution 2005-81 which directs that the Project Review Report be incorporated in full in the minutes of the full Commission meeting.  The motion was seconded by Shauna DeSantis and all members present voted affirmatively.

WHEREAS    the Commission has received and reviewed the Project Review Actions Reports prepared by staff and dated December 6, 2005, and;

WHEREAS    the Project Review Committee recommends acceptance of these Project Review Reports.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED    that the Commission directs that the Project Review Report
be incorporated in the minutes of the full Commission meeting.


The Chair explained that there are usually two resolutions for each project, one to approve and one to deny.  The reading of one does not necessarily mean that will be the resolution approved, he said.

Resolution 2005 - 82 — Lawrence Spraragen
       
Molly Gallagher introduced this project.  She said that she had the opportunity to visit this site on Monday.  She said that the boat cover/sun deck that is being proposed is similar to what the other neighbors have.

Martin Auffredou addressed the Commission members and said that he wasn’t as concerned about the financial hardship as he was about the unique and peculiar circumstances.  He said in order to grant a variance we must have these findings.  He recommended that the Commission members have a discussion about the unique and peculiar circumstances and then move on to the financial hardship analysis.

Chairman Young discussed his concerns in regards to the two letters from the realtor with his fellow Commission members.

Mr.  Young acknowledged Mr.  Lincoln Cathers and allowed him to address the Commission members.

Mr.  Cathers addressed the Commission members and said that he is a neighbor to the south of this project.  He said that he will not be affected in any way by this project.  He said that he would like to get a copy of the plans and make sure that they are followed exactly as described in the permit.

Mr.  Cathers read a letter that was written to Molly Gallagher regarding the Spraragen project.  He also addressed concerns for a neighbor to the north of the project who he feels will have a significant visual impact.

A discussion continued among the Commission members and Mr. Cathers about the size and length of the boat cover/sun deck being proposed.  The discussion also included the unique and peculiar circumstances of this project.

When questioned directly, Mr.  Cathers indicated that it was built to approved plans.  Also, that the neighbor to the north, may be impacted and he didn’t know if that neighbor had been properly noticed.  The Commission members discussed the notification of the neighbor to the north.  Ms.  Gallagher explained that the notice had been sent to the address the Commission has on file for dock registration and it was not returned.  She indicated that the method with the Commission’s regular procedures for notice to adjacent property owners.

The Chair polled the Commission members.  Thomas Morhouse said that “the property line extension is at a very acute angle to the shoreline in this situation resulting in an extreme set back.  The cost to relocate the existing crib dock so that the current situation could be built at a conforming location is the hardship”, he said.  He said such an extreme would be disproportionate to any benefit or improvement gained and would cause unwanted disturbance to the lake bottom.

A lengthy discussion followed among the Commission members specifically on the topic of unique and peculiar circumstances until it was clear that a consensus had formed for approval.

Shauna DeSantis capsulized the view that the applicant had demonstrated conditions for a set back variance consistent with Commission findings in a number of similar cases, that the boat cover was minimal, and that allowing, it on the existing dock minimizes disturbances to the lake.  Several members agreed specifically with these comments.

Joan Robertson introduced Resolution 2005-82 inserting that the acute angle of the property line to the shoreline, the cost to relocate the dock to a conforming location and the disturbance to the lake that this relocation would otherwise cover are unusual and peculiar circumstances that result in a hardship consistent with the Commission’s findings in several similar set back variance applications.

WHEREAS    the Lake George Park Commission has reviewed the application, supporting documents, comments received and other information which appears in the record; and

WHEREAS    the Commission has made a determination pursuant to 6NYCRR 645-3.6 and the State Environmental Quality Review Act 6NYCRR 617.5 that the project is a Type II action and does not require further review of potential environmental impacts pursuant to this act; and

WHEREAS    the action is considered to be a Minor project pursuant to 6NYCRR 645-5.3 and public notice has been published and distributed; and

WHEREAS    the applicant has applied for a permit for wharf modification to construct an open-sided boatcover/sundeck over an existing wharf; and

WHEREAS    the applicant has requested variance from 6 NYCRR 646-1.1(c)(11) Every dock or wharf constructed shall have a minimum setback of twenty feet from the adjacent property line extended into the lake on the same axis as the property line runs onshore where it meets the lake, or at a right angle to the mean high-water mark, whichever results in the greater setback; and
       
WHEREAS    the applicant has demonstrated that strict conformance with the regulations will cause unnecessary hardship due to the following unique and peculiar circumstances which impose the following substantial financial, technical and safety burdens:
       
WHEREAS    the Commission finds that there is no reasonable possibility that the applicant's property will bring a reasonable return following conformance with the regulations; and

WHEREAS    the Commission finds that the project represents the minimum necessary variance required to alleviate the hardship; and
 
WHEREAS    the Commission finds that the project will have no adverse impact on the health, safety or welfare of the public, the environment or the resources of the Park; will not alter the essential character of the area in which it is proposed; will not lead to congestion in the Park and will not have an undue visual, cultural or audible impact on the neighborhood or the Park.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Lake George Park Commission hereby approves the request for variance and approves the above application as proposed.

A roll call vote was taken with the following result.

AYES:    Robertson, DeSantis, Phinney, McDonald, Pettica, Young, Conerty, Kneeshaw, Hall, Morhouse
NAYS:    None
Abstentions:    None

Resolution 2005-82 was approved with noted revisions.

Item #6 - Invasive Species Prevention Program Update: Andrea Maranville

Andrea Maranville addressed the Commission members and discussed the need for some new educational materials on aquatic invasive species.  Andrea said she is requesting funding to purchase 500 posters and 20,000 rack cards to strengthen the program. 

Andrea said that other items such as book marks, stickers and outdoor signs are being explored as other ways to educate the public on the threat that aquatic invasive species pose on Lake George.

Andrea Maranville said that she has received half of the post season surveys back from the Zebra Mussel participating businesses.  She said that at the next meeting she hopes to have received the majority of the surveys back.

Andrea Maranville also spoke about the Lake George Park Commission insert that was included with the December issue of the Lake George Mirror.

Chairman Young said that he saw the insert that was included in the newspaper and he said that he has heard many favorable comments on the newsletter.

Joan Robertson read and moved to approve resolution 2005-85 which was seconded by Shauna DeSantis and all Commission members present voted affirmatively.

    WHEREAS    the Lake George Park Commission is established pursuant to Article 43 of the
        Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) to provide a means for people to preserve, protect and enhance the unique natural and scenic resources of Lake George, and

WHEREAS     the Commission has a specific regulation stating that “No person shall launch a
        vessel into or remove a vessel from the waters of the park without inspecting the vessel and its trailer, if any, to ensure the detection of marine growth, including macrophytes (weeds), or any other hull contamination, and removing said growth and disposing of it so as to ensure that it is not discharged into the waters of the park,” and

    WHEREAS    the Lake George Park Commission implements an Invasive Species Prevention
        Program providing education, prevention and management programs, and

WHEREAS    during 2001, the Commission established the Invasive Species Prevention Participating Business Program and thereafter approximately 40 businesses joined in a public information and prevention network, and

WHEREAS    Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) which can displace native animals, foul boats, docks, and consume the lake bottom thereby causing extensive economic and ecological damage, and

WHEREAS    the Commission has acknowledged that Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) still pose a significant threat to the ecological health of Lake George and its use for recreation and tourism, and

WHEREAS      the Commission is committed to educating the public and informing those who live on, recreate on, and visit Lake George that the threat of Aquatic Invasive Species (ANS) is still a matter of significant public concern warranting immediate and concerted action, and

WHEREAS    the Commission desires to provide posters and handouts informing the public of ANS for use at ANS Participating Businesses, by the marine patrol and by the Commission marine inspectors.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Lake George Park Commission hereby authorizes $1,660.00 for the purchase of 20,000 rack cards and 500 posters from Brown Printing Company, who submitted the low quote for the printing in response to the Commission’s invitation for quotes, and that the Commission also authorizes $1,090.00 to Mark Lange Design for the design and layout of these materials, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Commission authorizes the Executive Director to issue a purchase order for the posters and rack cards and thereafter approve payment when the order is satisfactorily fulfilled in accordance with the specifications (attached).

Item #7 -Law Enforcement Committee Report: Thomas K. Conerty

Thomas Conerty said that they did, in fact, have a Law Enforcement Committee meeting this morning and he turned to Lt. Schneider to give his report.

Lt. Schneider said there was a Law Enforcement Committee meeting this morning and discussed the fact that he is the only staff member not asking for funding today.  He said that he has been assigned by his Captain to attend all meetings pertaining to the Winter Carnival.

Lt. Schneider said that active and on-going enforcement cases were also discussed.  He said that the Annual Marine Patrol Report will be available at the next Commission meeting.

Thomas Conerty read and moved to approve resolution 2005-84 which was seconded by Joan Robertson and all Commission members present voted affirmatively.

WHEREAS    the Law Enforcement Committee met December 20, 2005 to review matters pertaining to the Lake George Park Commission’s Marine Patrol and the Commission's Law Enforcement Program, and

WHEREAS    active Law Enforcement cases and their status were reviewed in Executive Session, and

WHEREAS    the Law Enforcement Committee has reported on the results of that committee meeting at this full Commission meeting, and

WHEREAS    the Law Enforcement Committee recommends acceptance of this month's Law Enforcement Report.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Commission accepts the report of the Law Enforcement Committee.
     
Item #8 - Water Quality Programs Report: J. Thomas Wardell

Thomas Wardell said that he sent out a report to all Commission members which everyone should have received.

Mr. Wardell said that he has been working on the Forest Bay stabilization project with grant commitment from the Lake George Association.  He said that the LGA has committed $4,000 with a $4,000 match from the Town of Hague.  This project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2006.

Tom Wardell said that the Town of Bolton was interested in building a 500 ton salt storage area that is estimated at $100,000.  He said that there is a DEC grant for $50,000 to $80,000 left over from Finkle Brook that could possibly be used towards this project which must be completed by March or April 2006. 

Mr. Wardell also spoke of some projects he has been working on with Chris Navitsky, the Lake George Waterkeeper such as the Black Point Road sewer system and the Westbrook project.

Lake Level

Mr. Wardell said that the lake level at Rogers Rock is 3.36.

Item #9 - Work Plan on Tree Cutting and Stream Corridor Protection Approval: Michael P.  White

Michael White said that he had sent a memo on tree cutting and stream corridor management that included the very specific tasks that are ahead in order to advance this important initiative.

John Pettica read and moved to approve resolution 2005-86 as follows:

WHEREAS    the Commission is empowered pursuant to Article 43 of the Environmental Conservation Law to preserve, protect and enhance the unique, natural and scenic resources of Lake George and in furthermore of these purposes, to promulgate rules and regulations governing tree cutting and stream corridor protection in the Lake George Park, and

WHEREAS    during 2005, the Commission retained a consulting planner to assess the need for new standards and methods to protect the resources of the Lake George Watershed relative to stream corridor protection and tree clearing and the Commission has received and reviewed the report by the Chazen Company dated June 2005, and

WHEREAS    the Commission has also consulted with local elected officials and members of the planning and zoning boards active in the communities along the lake, and

WHEREAS    in August 2005, the Commission acknowledged the need and opportunity to advance the environmental protection of the lake’s watershed lands through a cooperative effort with local government and to develop a consensus-based program of new standards, methods and technology and allocated $100,000 toward this program, and

WHEREAS    on November 9, 2005 the Commission, in cooperation with the Lake George Watershed Conference, held a public meeting on these topics to solicit comments and discussion on the objectives and work elements of an initiative to develop such a program, and

WHEREAS    the Commission, having consulted with others and given consideration to the views and opinions of it’s constituents, wants to adopt a flexible work plan that sets forth the objective to undertake a consensus-based process that is based on good science and which invites the broadest possible public participation.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Commission adopts the attached work plan for watershed protection measures governing tree-cutting and stream corridor protection initiatives, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Executive Director is authorized to accept comments on the work plan and report progress to the Commission

On the motion of John Pettica, seconded by Joan Robertson all Commission members present voted affirmatively, the resolution was approved.

Item #10 - FUND For Lake George, Inc. — Presentation of Upland Protection Program

Carol Collins, Chair for the FUND for Lake George, Inc. Introduced David Rafael of Landworks, a firm based in Middlebury, Vermont for a presentation on a Upland Protection Program.

Mr.  Rafael’s presentation was a power point presentation of his analysis of factors affecting the visual and aesthetic character of the lake’s shoreline and upland.  He also presented representations of potential mitigation techniques that could limit the impact of development projects.  The presentation included a photo simulation of a build-out analysis for one hillside overlooking the lake.


Item #11 - Public Comments

There were no public comments.

Item #12 - Adjournment

There being no further business, on the motion of Tom Conerty, seconded by Joan Robertson, all Commission members present voting affirmatively, the meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.


                   
                        Respecfully submitted,



                        Michelle D. Way                                        Keyboard Specialist 1


Secretary’s Note:    The next Commission meeting is scheduled for TUESDAY, January 24, 2006, 10:00 a.m. at the Fort William Henry, Canada Street, Lake George, NY.