Last Updated On:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Project Summary

Site Plan Application #33-2007 for construction of a single family dwelling (SFD) on Hubbard Lane Ext (251.10-1-28). Site plan applications have been in front of the Town of Lake George Planning Board for over two years (original application filed by Frank Thomas). Site plans have been amended several times to address the site constraints; severe slopes with mature forest and the uphill proximity to English Brook. The general conclusion of the PB has been that the 40% slope within 80 ft of English Brook is too steep and would require too much disturbance and vegetation removal to maintain the current integrity of the land and protection of English Brook.

Waterkeeper Perspective

The Planning Board requested that the applicant move the SFD off of the steep slope and this was presented at the July 1, 2008 meeting. Applicant’s representative could not answer the total reduction of disturbance by this minor change to the house location, but the Waterkeeper had previously shared with the PB that the limits of disturbance had been reduced by only a negligible amount from the original submission, and that the steep slopes would be impacted. Stormwater management was reduced to one dry well which is connected to the driveway, roof drains and a small infiltration trench. Runoff from a 50ft infiltration trench was not addressed. Recommendation that this become a major stormwater project was not addressed. Per applicant’s representative, there would be a ‘stormwater management maintenance plan’ in place and that the homeowner would be told “…that he has an on-going responsibility to maintain it and it would be noted on the filed map…”.

Waterkeeper Comments

See comment letters to the Town of Lake George Planning Board for May, June and July 2008.

Next Meeting

Project approved 7/1/08 with conditions to install ‘Do Not Disturb’ fencing before any tree cutting or site clearing and installing a double row of silt fencing during construction (to be checked every 24 hours).

After Construction began in October 2008:  A Waterkeeper letter was sent to Robb Hickey, Zoning Enforcement Officer requesting investigation of site under construction Nov 2008.  Silt fences were improperly installed and erosion is occurring on the 45% construction slope down to English Brook, with sediment evident at the base of the slope.  Snow fences, intended to define limits of clearing and areas not to be disturbed, are not located per the approved site plan.  Disturbance extends into the approved no disturbance designated area.  The construction site is not being monitored daily to ensure appropriate building practices, which had been conditioned by the Planning Board.

November 2009:  A STOP WORK ORDER was issued by the Town of Lake George.  The 7/1/08 Planning Board approval did not include the retaining walls that have been constructed (one 10 ft in height, one 16 ft in height).  The applicant constructed two retaining walls, altered the design of the single family dwelling (with a three story structure and an underground garage (not presented to or discussed by the Planning Board).  What has been constructed on the property is what was initially presented to the Town in 2005 by Frank Thomas (which was not approved).  The Town Board will review the project at the Feb 2010 Town Board meeting and may recommend an ’after the fact’ Site Plan Review by the Planning Board.

June 2010: The Town Board recommended Site Plan Review for modifications to the approved plan.  The applicant claims the construction of the walls were necessary to protect the house and from washouts into English Brook.  The applicant has changed engineers and submitted a letter assessing the current site development and providing recommendations that included keeping all retaining walls.  The Lake George Waterkeeper submitted a letter to the Town of Lake George Planning Board April and May 2010 with comments regarding the information missing from the plan necessary for a decision from the Town.  The Planning Board tabled the application at the June 1, 2010 Planning Board meeting pending a report from the Town Engineer.

May 2011:  At the May 9, 2011 Lake George Town Board meeting, the Town Board passed a resolution lifting the Stop Work Order (SWO) on the property to allow Casale to remove the retaining walls, stormwater swale and relocate the house as per the approved site plan. Upon investigation, it was realized by the applicant (after the SWO was lifted) that the house could not be moved due to its construction.

October 2011:  At the 10/4/11 PB meeting, the location of the SFD was discussed as well as the structural integrity of the retaining wall.  The applicant was asked to appear before the 10/17/11 Town Board where a resolution was made:

RESOLUTION #126-2011
Resolution #126-2011 is adopted to issue a stop work order by the Town Board for Tony Casale in order for him to appear in front of the Planning Board to seek a modification to his application.  As per Mr. Anthony Casale’s statement, he is no longer attempting to put the project back to its original state.  A discussion ensues among the Members. Supervisor McCoy believes a stop work order would be counterproductive right now however the other Members feel that it would stop Mr. Casale from doing other work.  Applicant submitted info, to appear on the 12/6/11 PB agenda.

December 2011:  At the December Town of Lake George Planning Board meeting, the site plan modification asked for the removal of two blocks [courses] from the existing retaining wall as recommended by the PB. The additional changes that had been constructed on the site were also listed with the application.  PB did not agree with the applicant's representative that there were “…only slight modifications that had been made to the house and retaining wall…” (the retaining wall was never approved on the original application) and that the only changes requested on the site were to remove two blocks from the wall.  Town attorney was present at the PB meeting, and stated that WHY the changes to the construction occurred (intentional or not) was irrelevant legally, but that if the PB made suggestions for modifications to the site, that the PB as a whole should be on board (should the applicant chose to move forward on those suggestions).  A PB member suggested that an 'engineered wall' that was terraced up the slope to the house with trees and shrubs within the terraces may fit the site (there would be no lawn area left next to the garage/walk out basement…which too was not on the original approval).  This suggested plan would entail removing the existing wall and rebuilding it.  Applicant stated that the house would be unstable, which was contrary to his March 15, 2011 document stating “…that the wall does not support the building.  The building foundation is independent of the wall and does not rely on the wall for its support.”  APA is involved as the height of the building is 44 ½ft (vs. 40ft), septic soils need to be retested and it's been determined that it is a Class A regional project.  Applicant asked to come back with new plans that would ensure a stable retaining wall.

Related Town

Waterkeeper Comments Document

Project Address

Hubbard Lane Ext
Lake George, NY 12845