Roedel Companies won’t drop suit over new Lake Flower hotel
SARANAC LAKE — The company that’s restoring the Hotel Saranac says it’s not dropping its lawsuit against the village Planning Board over its approval of a potentially competing resort on Lake Flower.
In a statement issued Sunday, New Hampshire-based Roedel Companies responded to a proposal last week by the village Board of Trustees to amend the zoning district it created for the Lake Flower Resort and Spa, a 90-room, four-story hotel planned on the site of three Lake Flower Avenue motels: the Adirondack Motel, the Lake Side Motel and the Lake Flower Inn.
The amendment would remove 203 River St., which Roedel Companies purchased in June of last year and is a key point of contention in its lawsuit, from the Lake Flower Planned Unit Development District. It would also reshape the district’s boundaries to include lands under Pontiac Bay, giving the project a total size of 4.07 acres, more than the 3 acres required for all PUDDs in the village.
Mayor Clyde Rabideau said last week that the changes, if they’re approved, will have “taken care of (Roedel’s) complaint and allow the Lake Flower hotel project to move forward.
“I really hope that Mr. Roedel reconsiders his lawsuit,” Rabideau said.
Roedel Companies, in its statement, repeated its argument that the Planning Board’s approval of the project “violates existing land-use codes and that the village failed to properly apply its own laws,” claims the village has denied.
“The village’s recent action neither changes the prior determination of the Planning Board nor Roedel Companies’ view of the importance of proper and fair application of the village’s zoning laws,” the statement reads.
Roedel Companies also noted that the court has issued several decisions in its favor lately. In March, state Supreme Court Judge Glen Bruening denied a motion from the village and the resort’s developers to dismiss Roedel Companies’ lawsuit. In February, he denied the village’s motion to dismiss a separate Freedom of Information Law lawsuit filed by Roedel Companies, which is seeking a copy of a confidential December 2015 that advised the village to amend the Lake Flower PUDD. Two weeks ago, the judge ordered the village to give him a copy of the memo so he could review it.
“The lawsuit shall proceed in its normal course as directed by the court until a determination is made regarding those issues,” Roedel Companies statement reads.
Rabideau has said several times that the lawsuit and Roedel Companies purchase of 203 River St. is really an effort by the Hotel Saranac owners to block a potentially competing hotel. He repeated that last week.
“It’s really just been a ruse to stymie and stop and slow down the other hotel,” he said. “We all know that, and they’ve expressed the same fact on the other side.”
Fred Roedel III, a managing member of Roedel Companies and head of hits construction wing, ROK Builders, has said in the past that the Lake Flower hotel project could saturate the market with too many upscale rooms just as his company’s renovated and restored Hotel Saranac comes online. After the lawsuit was filed, his lawyer, John Muldowney of Saranac Lake, didn’t dispute that Roedel is concerned about competing against another hotel.
“I don’t think they would hide from the fact that this is a competitive situation, and they’re taking steps in part to protect their investment in the Hotel Saranac,” Muldowney said at the time. “I think it’s fair to say that plays a role in this.”
The village board has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed amendment to the Lake Flower PUDD at 5:30 p.m. May 22 in the village offices on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall. Before that takes place, the proposed amendment will be reviewed by the village Development Board, formerly the Planning Board, at its May 16 meeting.