AMA annexation gets final approval

SARANAC LAKE – The Saranac Lake village board voted 3-0 to approve the annexation of the American Management Association campus into the village at its meeting Wednesday night.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity to expand the economic and taxable property on that (63)-acre campus,” Mayor Clyde Rabideau told the Enterprise after the meeting. “Very exciting possibility everywhere there, and I’m looking forward to the planning process and making it happen with our partners and the town of St. Armand.”

Saranac Lake’s vote came just one night after the St. Armand town board voted unanimously to approve the annexation.

AMA delivered a formal petition to annex its campus off of Trudeau Road to the town and village boards in December of last year, setting in motion a formal series of public notices, hearings and deadlines.

During a public hearing in January, AMA employees and representatives testified that annexation would help stabilize the nonprofit management education company and its 150 local employees. They said being in the village, and being able to use its planning and economic development services, will boost the prospects of developing unused buildings and vacant land on their property, which could provide new tax revenue for the village, the town of St. Armand, the Saranac Lake Central School District and Essex County.

Before the property can be developed, AMA has asked the village to rezone it to a planned unit development. A public hearing on that proposal has been set for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 13 in the village board room on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St.

Park Avenue residents have raised concerns about increased traffic on their road, since the village will take over AMA Way and reopen the gate to the company’s campus at the end of Park Avenue. Village officials said these and other issues will be dealt with in the planned unit development process.

“Anything else to the future development in use of land or buildings, including the gate structures and traffic flows on AMA Way, will be part of the PUD process, the planned unit development process,” village Community Development Director Jeremy Evans said. “(The process) allows the village and AMA to look at the entire site in totality, look at all the different issues, development, historic structures, traffic and environmental issues, and come up with a plan that works for both the property owner and for the village.”

Rabideau said he expects the process will take months to complete.

“I can’t see it going over a year, but we want to make sure that everyone has a fair opportunity to make input and let the planning board do their job and make sure the planning for that (63)-acre parcel is appropriate for the village and for the town,” he said.

Village Trustee Tom Catillaz was absent from Monday’s meeting. Rabideau also did not vote, as is usual for him except to break a tie, as per his strict following of Robert’s Rules of Order.

Contact Mike Lynch at 891-2600 ext. 28 or