Commission: Proposed Stormwater Regs Will Improve Lake’s Water Quality

This article appeared in The Lake George Mirror.

Dave Wick, Executive Director of the Lake George Park Commission, offered the public its first look at the proposed revisions to the commission’s Stormwater Regulations in Ticonderoga on July 24, during the Commission’s monthly meeting.

Wick said there are five major sections scheduled for revisions, some rule changes are more stringent and some less.  The changes will affect homeowners, businesses and municipalities around the lake.  The five sections include agriculture and logging activities, fertilizer usage, where residential projects can be built, stormwater retrofits, and shoreline cutting near streams.  

Wick said enforcement of the logging regulations are now the prevue of County Soil & Water Conservation Districts.  “Under the new proposal, the commission would take over that responsibility,” he said.

Wick said the regulations have not been reviewed since 1998 but they are supposed to be reviewed every five years.  A year-and-a-half ago the commission decided it was time to take a look at the regulations to see if they needed to be updated. 

Chairman Bruce Young said this is the first time the changes have been presented to the public.  “We can’t show you the actual draft because it has to be approved by the governor’s office,” he said.  “It’s a lengthy process.  Once approved, it gets published in the State Register which then opens a 60-day public comment period.”

Wick said that in light of the prolonged process, the commission decided to offer public information sessions.  

We are giving you the information in layman’s terms to make it easy to understand,” he said.

Wick said overall the changes are designed to improve the water quality of the lake. “Hands down … runoff is the number one problem,” he said.   According to Wick, over the past 30 years, water clarity has declined by 6 percent and chlorophyll has increased by 33 percent. “That’s fairly shocking,” he said.  Wick said Governor Cuomo recently earmarked $65 million to look at 12 lakes in New York State.  “Lake George is one of those lakes,” he said.

The commission passed a resolution at the meeting which sends the revisions to the State. Once reviewed, the full draft will be published in the State Register and the 60-day comment period will begin.  The commission hopes to be able to hold a public hearing in October. Commissioners will then have time to review public feedback and make revisions, if needed. Wick said the Commission hopes to have the new regulations in place by January 1, 2019.

Young said over the past year-and-a-half the revisions have been discussed extensively with local supervisors, town boards, planning boards, environmental groups and New York State attorneys. “Everybody seems to be on board with the changes.  The only people who reject it are the ones who haven’t read it.  Some of the changes lighten the burdens placed on homeowners.”

Vice Chair Ken Parker, who chaired the revision committee, said, “We wanted to partner with as many stakeholders as possible … businesses, municipalities and property owners. We got some very important input and we changed the document as we went along. One contractor added a key recommendation which was implemented.”

The next public information session is planned for Wednesday, August 22 at 4pm in the Fort William Henry Conference Center in Lake George Village.  In addition, Wick will be the keynote speaker at the Lake George Association Annual Meeting at 10 am Friday, August 17 at the Lake George Club.  Wick will display the PowerPoint presentation during the meeting.  The PowerPoint presentation may also be viewed on the Commission’s website. 

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