Lake Flower Resort and Spa was mishandled

To the editor:

A number of decades ago, many communities, Saranac Lake among them, realized that unchecked growth and unregulated development were undesirable. Community leaders began to acknowledge that their cities had become unattractive with brash signage, shabby strip malls and cluttered mixed-use neighborhoods, etc. Concerned citizens and elected officials worked diligently to develop comprehensive plans for community growth, which included zoning regulations and building restrictions. Their intent was not to stifle development nor impede capital growth; rather, it was to take ownership of their hometowns and keep them vibrant and desirable places to live.

I have followed the plans for the Lake Flower Resort and Spa for several years and am truly amazed at how they have unfolded. Our mayor, village trustees and planning board have flouted one restriction after another.

¯ Not enough parking places on site: Just feel free to spread it around a residential neighborhood, or even better, amend the required size of the parking spaces to create more within the same square footage (like nobody owns a pickup or SUV).

¯ The proposed building exceeds height restrictions: Never mind; those aren’t important, we’ll make an exception.

¯ Required shoreline setbacks: Oh pshaw. Let’s not quibble about a few feet.

This last one is a doozy. It simply defies logic and common sense.

¯ The Lake Flower Resort and Spa footprint is too big for the site: We’ll just include in the PUDD land that is perpetually underwater and generally considered part of the lake.

The owners of the Adirondack Motel, Fred and Susan Mueller, are friends of mine. They want to sell the business and retire, and I really want that for them. I am not against growth or commercial development. Quality employment opportunities are welcome, and I would like to see the site redeveloped.

My concern lies with the village and planning boards’ obvious inability and unwillingness to enforce the regulations and restrictions governing what is constructed in our village. Should developers want to build in Saranac Lake, we welcome them. But this is our home, and we have an established, well-thought-out plan for growth. So I ask the members of the boards: Is there any law you will not amend or any restriction you will not strive to finagle for the sake of dollar signs in the sky?

At your service,

Christina Fontana

Saranac Lake

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