Waterkeeper: Any New Development Will Be Exposed to Lawsuits

Anthony F. Hall
January 2015 

In the absence of a moratorium on large–scale development, any new projects approved by Lake George’s planning and zoning boards could become the subjects of lawsuits, said Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky.
“A criterion for approving a project is adequate treatment for any sewage it might produce. The Lake George Wastewater Treatment plant is not adequate,” said Navitsky.
Thus a project approved by the boards would probably be challenged in court by his organization, Navitsky said.
At a joint meeting of the Village and Town Boards in December, Navitsky proposed establishing a moratorium on development until improvements to the waste water treatment plant, ordered by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, have been completed.
“After monitoring the plant for six months, we have found a clear correlation between the plant and the pollution that enters West Brook and ultimately Lake George,” said Navitsky.
Navitsky, with Lake George Watershed Coalition executive director David Decker and Jim Sutherland, a retired DEC scientist, has been monitoring the plant’s discharges every two weeks since June, when New York State ordered Lake George Village to modernize its treatment plant.
New York State found that the plant was discharging unacceptably high levels of nitrates into ground water and fined the Village $3,900.
Dave Harrington, the Village’s superintendent of public works, said any additional flows would not aggravate the plant’s current condition.
“We have a treatment issue with nitrates, not a volume issue,” said Harrington. “I don’t see what stopping all development will do to help.”
Construction of a new wastewater plant, or a renovation of the existing plant, is scheduled to begin in September, 2016, Harrington said.
In the mean time, the Village has a three year plant to reduce flows through the treatment plant, said Mayor Bob Blais.
No member of either the Town or the Village Board support a moratorium, and Navitsky’s proposal was not adopted.
“We don’t have any big projects on the horizon,” said town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson. “Moreover, the economy is wallowing. I’m leery of doing anything, like imposing a moratorium, that would scare away potential developers. ”

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