Presiding: Bruce E. Young, Chair
Commission Members Present: Thomas K. Conerty Thomas J. Morhouse John A. Pettica, Jr. Kenneth W. Parker
Commission Members Absent: John C. McDonald, Jr. Shauna M. DeSantis James T. Kneeshaw Roger H. Phinney Thomas W. Hall
Commission Staff Present: Michael P. White, Executive Director Lt. Thomas J. Caifa, Law Enforcement Director Roger R. Smith, Conservation Operations Supervisor II Molly Gallagher, Environmental Analyst II Michelle D. Way, Keyboard Specialist 1 Keith G. Fish, Operation’s Director
Commission Counsel Present: Martin Auffredou
Jeffrey Meyer Mary Alice Leary Tony Hall Tamara Chomiak Barry Kincaid Kathy Bozony Melissa Lescault Scot Trifilo Brian Nearing Curtis Dybas Don Russell William Wasilauski Jeff Provost John Carr Sandy Anthony Jeff Anthony Linda Lynch Joan Marcher Richard Waller Frank McDonald George McGowan Jack Gelleto George Weinschenk Scott Abbott Richard Kudlack Frank DeNardo Joan Robertson Chris Navitsky Peter Bauer
Item #1 - Introductions, Roll Call, Minutes of Previous Meeting: Bruce E. Young
The 361st meeting of the Lake George Park Commission was called to order by Chairman Young at 10:00 a.m. and the roll was taken.
Chairman Young said that unfortunately many of the Commission members were unable to make it to the meeting due to an emergency surgery, prior work commitments and a death in the family therefore decisions can not be made without a full quorum. Chairman Young said that anyone wishing to make their presentation to the members that are present are welcome to do so although they will have to make the presentation at the next meeting as well.
Item #2 — Project Review — Public Comments on Pending Applications and Project Review Resolutions: Molly Gallagher
Wharf Construction submitted by Irving & Marcia Metzger, Town of Bolton, County of Warren
Curt Dybas said that he sees no reason to proceed until next month when a decision can be made.
Modification of an Existing Class A Marina submitted by McNulty, Sprague and Russell, Town of Bolton, County of Warren
Donald Russell said that he also sees no reason to proceed until the December meeting.
Wharf Modification submitted by Donald Fuchs, Town of Putnam, County of Washington
No one was present to speak on behalf of the application but an adjoining neighbor was present to comment on the project.
Joan Marcher spoke on the project and said that she is questioning 3 things on the application. She discussed the fact that the application had been submitted and went out for comment and then the application had changed and was resubmitted and again sent out for comments. She wanted to know what changed on the application. Ms. Marcher asked about the grandfathered status of the dock. She also spoke about the length of the current dock as well as the proposed length of the proposed dock.
Thomas Morhouse said that he believes that Ms. Marcher is asking if the new dock will extend further into the lake than the current dock.
Molly Gallagher explained to Ms. Marcher the orientation of the dock.
Thomas Morhouse and Joan Marcher discussed the height of the proposed canopy. Jeff Provost answered some of the questions that Ms. Marcher had regarding the size and height of the canopy.
Variance Request for Wharf Modification submitted by Robert Hill, Town of Fort Ann, County of Washington
Frank DeNardo, representative for the applicant, said that he will wait until the meeting in December to present the application.
Variance Request for Wharf Modification submitted by Lagoon Manor Home Owners Association, Town of Bolton, County of Warren
Jeff Provost of the Dock Doctors said that he would like to present the application to the Commission members so that he can see what the Commission members who are present think about the project.
Jeff Provost presented the application. He said that the Lagoon Manor Home Owners Association’s main goal is to provide 35 equal dock spaces to their members. He said that currently the docks are made up of three (3) different dock systems consisting of 12 shapes.
Mr. Provost said that they are seeking a variance and the biggest concern that he has is the hardship issue.
Martin Auffredou said that the fundamental questions needed to be answered. He said that a variance was obtained in 1990 and asked what has changed since then.
Martin Auffredou asked if all of the slips have been sold and how a slip is obtained.
Martin Auffredou, Molly Gallagher and Jeff Provost discussed the Bolton zoning application and the APA application. Martin Auffredou said that staff will have to have some communication with the Adirondack Park Agency and the Town of Bolton.
Molly Gallagher said that this application will be deemed incomplete because a copy of the application to the Town of Bolton is needed.
Kenneth Parker asked if all of the units have been sold and if they all have a dock.
A discussion continued regarding the initial design of the dock, whether dock slips are sold to the public and boat size limitations.
Item #3 — Law Enforcement Committee Report: Lt. Thomas J. Caifa
Michael White spoke and introduced the Lake George Park Commission’s new Law Enforcement Director, Lieutenant Thomas J. Caifa. Mr. White said that Thomas Caifa grew up in Queensbury and has joined the Park Commission from the Department of Environmental Conservation where he worked as an Environmental Conservation Officer for many years.
Lieutenant Thomas Caifa gave his report on the Law Enforcement Committee meeting. He spoke about the members that were present and said that the meeting was called to order at 9:10 a.m. where they spoke about Marine Patrol equipment issues, possible staffing changes and active enforcement cases. Lt. Caifa said that the meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:40 a.m.
Item #4 — Workshop Meeting on Stream Corridor Protection & Tree Cutting — Presentation by Saratoga Associates and Public Comments on Stream Corridor Protection & Tree Cutting
Matt Rogers introduced himself and his partner Steve Michaulik who have been working on draft stream corridor and tree cutting regulations. He said that this is the kick off of the working drafts.
Mr. Rogers said that they are working towards a full draft for the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA).
Mr. Rogers and Mr. Michaulik continued with his presentation and discussed many points such as GIS viewsheds, streams analysis, cases studies and local law review. He also discussed many of the focus group meetings and interest statements.
George Weinschenk expressed a long list of concerns indicating that the regulations were too restrictive and among other provisions put the LGPC above Federal, State and Local legislation. Mr. Weinschenk said that “Visual Impact is in the eye of the beholder,” describing the standards as arbitrary. He said that the rules appear to apply to areas not visible from the lake also that tree clearing would not reduce fire hazard for developed lands and forested areas. He also objected to the cost to regulated entities asking who pays for all the planning and analysis.
Glenn Warner spoke saying that he was a professional engineer who manages forest land and also owns forested lands with his family. He said that the rules do not reduce the risk for fire hazards because of the limiting setbacks for clearing from buildings. He was critical that the rules do not contain references for the scientific info for which they apply. He said that often rules are written for suburbia and they are not effectively applied to our area. “Turn it into a model plan, a plan that has some values and is promoted by the agency. This would create a continuous feedback loop to improve the rules,” he said.
George McGowan spoke. He said that 90% of the lake’s problems have been shown to be run-off from Highways. He said that the drafts seek to regulate something that has already been regulated to death. “Every regulation costs more money. If you have setbacks for every rivulet you have no capacity for harvesting timber at all.” He suggested that the rules be scrapped.
Rob Hickey spoke saying that the draft rules as presented are very hard to enforce. “Lets have practical regulations with no grey areas,” he said. Mr. Hickey said that the most difficult question is who gets to say what a visual impact is.
Pamela Kenyon spoke and said that she does agree with Rob Hickey and that she has pages and pages that she has highlighted with comments that she will be submitting.
Kathy Clark explained that the pre-construction vegetation cutting needs to be re-worked. She said that when Stream Corridor regulations and Tree Cutting regulations are viewed together they result in lots which will be un-buildable. “Pre existing clearing does not fit into the process,” she said. She also expressed concern about additional layers of review and jurisdiction. “There is lots of good in the drafts but they need to be reworked,” she said.
Jack Gelleto spoke and said that he does not see anything in the draft documents that refer to commercial properties.
Matt Rogers responded to a point about denying the use of a commercial/tourist parcel of property.
Melissa Lescault of McPhillips, Fitzgerald & Cullum, LLP said that she represents the Empire State Forest Products Association. She said that her clients were copied but the Association only received the drafts within a few days. She asked for additional time to review and comment.
Richard Kudlack said that he participated in every workshop but only received his copy of the draft on Sunday. “We need time to study the drafts,” he said. He expressed his concern that the focus group meetings were not very productive because the format did not allow for debate among the interest groups on particular aspects of the rules.
“Besides more time when we meet with Saratoga Associates we need an oversight committee to help the process along.” He characterized the draft as an extreme position. “We are not being heard,” said Mr. Kudlack.
Peter Bauer spoke saying that “the rules were an attempt to split the baby because of the inherent compromises between property rights. We find many places where the rules need to be strengthened.”
Mr. Bauer sited the a APA process where a technical committee of commission members and regulated entities met over many years to hammer out regulations. He indicated that additional comments on behalf of the Fund for Lake George would be forthcoming.
Chris Navitsky said that Lake George is in impaired water body. Stream Corridor buffers give the most protection for the money and are a control that can be instituted at minimal cost with very high benefit. We need to make sure that the rules are good and on a scientific basis and the stream corridor rules are too weak, he said.
John Carr also participated in the focus group meetings. He said, “Fundamentally something is wrong. The drafts are complex, overlapping and burdensome.” Mr. Carr suggested that there was a concerted agenda at work. He urged the Commission not to move forward in any formal way until more focus group meetings have been held.
Barry Kincaid said that he has been involved in the process since its inception and that his business is trees. “I create filtered views in shaded sites,” he said. The Commission needs to stop for at least 2 months for more focus groups and that specifically the 15 ft. no cut zone puts undue burden on property owners.
Jeff Anthony spoke indicating that we need to go back and review the APA do and don’t lists for screening property. “We tried the points system for several years and it just does not work and a more flexible approach that counts for the growth and a changing system is needed,” said Mr. Anthony.
Laurel Gailor said that she works in education programs for property owners and forestry. She said that the regulations are ambiguous especially when considering the need to clearly define and separate forestry and land development. There is a need to bring in the science of silbaculture.
Kathy Bozony said that stream corridor protection and tree cutting are directly related to water quality and that timber harvesting is a separate entity. She said that she had developed comments that will be submitted in writing.
Steve Satterfield said that he worked for Finch, LLC. He said that it appeared that an outcome from the focus group was a desire to make timber harvesting under forest management plans exempt also that projects subject to a DEC permit would be exempt. “These were not reflected in the draft,” he said.
Mr. Young thanked all the people for their comments and he explained that the Commission too was just reviewing the rules for the first time and shared many of the concerns expressed. He said that there would be a Commission response.
Item #5 — Adjournment
There being no further business, on the motion of Thomas Conerty, seconded by Thomas Morhouse the meeting was adjourned at 1:05 p.m.
Michelle D. Way
Secretary’s Note: The next Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 18, 2007, 9:00 a.m. at the Holiday Inn, Lake George, NY.