Lake Placid intersection to change

LAKE PLACID – With the new Family Dollar store on Farm Ridge Road, a reconfiguration of the street’s intersection with state Route 86 (Saranac Avenue) is planned, per the request of the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board.

The planned “total reconfiguration” of the intersection, will create a 90-degree “T” intersection opposite of the new 8,320-square-foot Family Dollar store. The store is to be located on the south side of the street, opposite the rear of The Adirondack Store at 2024 Saranac Ave. The reconstruction of the intersection shortens it some and creates a turning angle closer to 90 degrees. Town of North Elba Code Enforcement Officer Jim Morganson said the store is planning on opening as early as mid-July.

The project will also include the installation of an electronic speed detection sign at the top of Saranac Avenue. In a letter drafted to the town of North Elba, review board Chairman Bill Hurley said the speed detection signs are similar to those at the Wilmington Road and Cascade Road entrances to Lake Placid.

The Joint Review Board also requested the installation of a “no left turn” sign, and the relocation of an existing fire hydrant at the eastern end of Fawn Ridge Road. The memorandum also included the widening of the intersection by removing of the “point” of dirt in the acute angle formed by Fawn Ridge Road and Saranac Avenue.

The town of North Elba board voted unanimously to provide conceptual approval of the design and layout outlined by the Joint Review board, subject to town attorney Ronald Briggs’ review of the legal language of the agreement with the attorneys of Family Dollar.

“It’s really a great improvement,” Briggs said.

In attendance at Tuesday’s town board meeting, Morganson said Family Dollar is completing the work on the reconfiguration of the intersection, the relocation of the fire hydrant and the widening of the intersection.

Morganson said the reconfiguration of the intersection is “about three years in the making.” He also said he initially went to the state to see if they’d put a turn lane in, but that was turned down. Morganson also raised similar concerns in 2014, writing a letter to the review board asking to make a redesign to improve the situation.

“So this is a perfect solution for now,” Morganson said. Morganson also said Thursday morning that during a visit to Lake Placid on Monday, a member of Family Dollar’s Corporate Advance Team said the Lake Placid store is the nicest store location he’d ever been to. The variety store chain has more than 8,000 locations in the U.S.

Town Clerk Laurie Dudley said she lives near the intersection and uses it frequently and described it as “tricky” and “dangerous” in its current state, in part thanks to the common parking of cars on Farm Ridge Road. Town trustee Jay Rand said he’d never had any problems at the intersection.

Throughout the Joint-Review Board’s approval process of the proposed dollar store, there were questions about traffic at the intersection. In June 2014, nearly a dozen people showed up at a public hearing on the dollar store, some residents of Fawn Ridge Road who the traffic at the intersection “is bad enough.” Some residents recommended the store’s construction at another location nearby. Carl Gonyea, a Farm Ridge Road resident whose property borders Family Dollar, asked for a traffic light at the intersection.

Moser Engineering and Mark Nadolny conducted a traffic study of the intersection in early 2014 and said a traffic light was not warranted. He said the average wait time at the intersection was 18 seconds and with Family Dollar traffic he expected the wait time to increase by six seconds. Nadolny also said safety was not a major issue, citing two reported accidents at the intersection in a 10-year period.

Family Dollar would be open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Little helps secure $250,000 for ORDA facilities

At Tuesday’s meeting, the town of North Elba board also announced they’d received $250,000 from the state for costs associated with the maintenance and upkeep of Olympic Regional Development Authority facilities within the town.

The mid-May state Senate initiative, a Local Assistance Award, was sponsored by Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury). Thanks to the funding, North Elba town Supervisor Roby Politi said the cost to town taxpayers will now decrease by a third, from $750,000 to $500,000. The state Department of Environmental Conservation was the requested agency to administer the program

“It’s a tremendous savings to the taxpayers of the town of North Elba, and it’s something that Senator Little recognizes and understands,” Politi said Tuesday.