Hearing set on Saranac Lake comprehensive plan

SARANAC LAKE – The village Board of Trustees is poised to adopt a new comprehensive plan for the village that’s been nearly seven years in the making.

At its meeting Monday night, the board scheduled a public hearing on the plan, the last step in the process before trustees can approve it. The hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. May 28 in the village offices on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St.

Trustee Allie Pelletieri hand-delivered copies of the plan to Mayor Clyde Rabideau and Trustee Tom Catillaz at Monday’s meeting. Trustees Barbara Rice and Paul Van Cott were absent.

“We will be voting on it at some point, so I’d like you to go over this and make sure you like what’s in it,” Pelletieri said. “As you probably know, committees have worked on this for a few years, and we’ve come up with this. The committee that started it was a good committee, and the last committee is just a great committee. We had a great mix of people who worked a lot of hours on this.”

Billed as the blueprint for future growth and development in the community, the village’s current comprehensive plan hasn’t been updated since 1988. A committee of village and Harrietstown residents was appointed in 2006 to come up with a joint town-village plan. It delivered a draft plan to the village board in late 2009. However, many of its recommendations, including proposed guidelines for the size of retail stores, proved controversial, and the village board scrapped large sections of the plan in the fall of 2010.

By that point, the town board had backed out of the joint plan, and village board members decided to meld the parts of the committee’s plan they liked with an update of the 1988 plan. A new group of citizens and village board members – the Project Advisory Committee – was formed to finish the project, and it hosted a series of meetings beginning in October 2011 to gather additional public input. The LA Group of Saratoga Springs was hired with a $75,000 state grant to help draft the plan. A pair of public hearings were held on it in December.

The 172-page, 58,000-word plan has a long list of priority initiatives. Some of its goals include establishing a business incubator to nurture startup companies, creating a program to rehabilitate cure cottages, developing a marketing strategy, improving and expanding recreation and arts facilities, re-establishing a village beach on Lake Flower and creating public restrooms downtown.

It doesn’t include some of the controversial proposals from the 2009 plan, Pelletieri noted Monday.

“There’s no (retail) size cap, and there’s no talk of restricting boats or horsepower on Lake Flower or anything like that,” he said.

Pelletieri urged village residents to look over the plan, copies of which will be available for review at the village offices, the Saranac Lake Free Library and on the village’s website, saranaclakeny.gov.

“Please review it,” he said. “Go to the map, find out what district you live in, and look over that. You can look over any district, but the one that really means something to you is usually the one you live in.”

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or cknight@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.