Saranac Lake Development Board has new member
Richard Weber fills vacancy; Board is full, but alternate positions to be filled
SARANAC LAKE — When the Saranac Lake Development Board meets tonight — in person for the first time in over a year — there will be a new face on the board.
At its meeting last week, the village board appointed Richard Weber, a Saranac Lake resident and former Adirondack Park Agency staff member, to fill a vacancy on the development board left by C.J. Hagmann.
Weber said he’s lived in Saranac Lake for a while. He wants to use his relevant skills to serve the village he loves and he believes in “consistent” application of the law.
This appointment means the board is fully staffed again, with the exception of two alternate seats. The board’s two alternates come into play when a regular board member is unable to participate in a vote.
Village Development Code Administrator Paul Blaine said since there are only two projects on the board’s agenda today, he wanted more time to analyze the applications for alternates.
“It wasn’t a priority because we do have a full board,” Blaine said. “We didn’t think we had to rush.”
He said he wants to choose the “right person” and said the village is still accepting applications.
Development Board member Bill Domenico said the board is doing fine with the members it has now — they’re able to meet the requirements for a quorum — but he’d like those alternate seats be filled soon.
“Those seats are there for a reason,” he said.
He said when someone can’t make a meeting or recuses themselves from a vote, the board still needs to meet the number of members necessary for a quorum.
Hagmann, an associate broker with Say Realty, which his mother owns, resigned from the board in June, citing “time constraints” he’s long tried to alleviate.
Village Mayor Clyde Rabideau stepped back from this selection process because his development company currently has an application pending before the board.
Usually, the mayor is involved in the vetting process of appointing development board members, but because of this conflict of interest, Rabideau handed that role over to Blaine.
Donna DiFara is the board’s current chair.
Blaine said Weber is “tremendously qualified” and called him the “ideal candidate.”
Paul Van Cott, the Development Board’s attorney and village attorney, said Weber has seen both sides of development — as an applicant while working as a landscape architect, and as an overseer in his years at the APA.
Weber said he spent 19 years at the APA and recently retired. For nine of those years he was the director of the agency’s permitting, meaning he supervised all APA permits and presented projects to the board to vote on.
Training session tonight
At tonight’s meeting, Van Cott will hold a training session on the roles and duties of the board for public information.
Van Cott said he will lay out the process for how a development is approved using the code the village passed in 2016. He said the goal is to have the process be “efficient and predictable.”
He called Blaine the “gatekeeper” for development. Since 2016, the development code administrator has met with applicants to make sure their projects meet the level needed for approval before they bring them before the board. Van Cott said this saves applicants time and money.
The board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall.