Marina plan could mean annexation

SARANAC LAKE – Plans for redevelopment and expansion of the only commercial marina on Lower Saranac Lake have been submitted to the Harrietstown Planning Board.

Meanwhile, the developer of the Crescent Bay Marina project wants to connect the property to Saranac Lake village water and sewer services, which may require annexation into the village.

Mike Damp of LS Marina LLC, which is under contract to purchase Crescent Bay, said Monday he recently submitted a site plan review application to the town planning board. The project will be on the agenda of the board’s Feb. 11 meeting, Damp said.

The project involves two properties: the current 4.85-acre marina site off state Route 3, also known as Duso’s Crescent Bay, and a roughly 5-acre annex site at the end of Lake Street in Ampersand Bay.

At the Crescent Bay property, the existing 70 slips and 12 moorings on the Crescent Bay property would be replaced with a 175-slip floating dock system, covered with a green metal roof. The restaurant and operations center at the site would be renovated and refurbished in the Adirondack great camp style. Most of the existing homes and cabins would also be renovated and used as rentals. The three buildings along Route 3, including a boat repair shop and boat storage building, would be kept and reused. A boat washing station would be added.

At the Ampersand Bay property, the existing 80 boat slips would be replaced with 110 covered slips. Access and parking improvements, another boat washing station and vegetation buffers along the shoreline and a property line are also planned.

At a public meeting on the project last month, Damp said the goal is to create a “state-of-the-art, green-built, eco-tourism marina and recreational center.”

However, neighboring property owners, several people who live year-round or seasonally on the lake and some planning board members raised concerns about the scale of the project. Many cited the increase in the number of boat slips from 150 to 285, which they said could lead to more congestion on the lake and more spreading of invasive species.

Speaking Monday, Damp said the application he delivered to the planning board hasn’t changed much since the December meeting.

“It’s been fine-tuned and is a lot more detailed, but almost exactly the same,” he said.

One new detail of the project involves a plan to connect the Crescent Bay property to village utilities. In a Jan. 13 letter to the village board, Mark Taber of the LA Group said the site has limited water service and no municipal sewer service.

“As part of the proposed redevelopment efforts, LS Marina LLC would like to formally request that sewer and water service be extended to Crescent Bay Marina so that adequate services may be provided,” Taber wrote, asking the topic to be put on the next village board agenda.

The letter was included in the agenda packet for Monday night’s village board meeting, along with a copy of a 2010 village law that limits the extension of any new, out-of-village water or sewer service to “lands that are part of the incorporated village.”

Asked if that means the Crescent Bay property would have to be annexed into the village to get village utilities, Damp said that’s under discussion.

“We’re getting through the process,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens, but that’s between the village and town to figure out.”

Village Manager John Sweeney said he’d put the issue on the agenda for the village board’s next meeting.

In addition to review by the town planning board, LS Marina LLC’s plans will also require state Adirondack Park Agency approval.

When a similar plan was delivered to the APA in the fall, the agency said the covered floating dock system would, under its definitions, be a shoreline structure and would be too large to be built without a variance.

“There will eventually be a variance application in front of them,” Damp said. “We’ve been going back and forth, and it’s probably the clearest path to get there.”

Damp said he hopes to move forward with the project this summer, but he said that will depend on the permitting process. He said his company hopes to close soon on the property, which is currently owned by CB Holdings. Damp is the managing investor for LS Marina LLC. Asked who else is behind the project, he said, “It’s just me.”

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or