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Major development proposed along Saratoga Lake

Major development proposed along Saratoga Lake

A bed and breakfast, inn, restaurant, and additional boat slips and expanded board shop proposed at Lake Local
Major development proposed along Saratoga Lake
Damage from a fire at Lake Local in Saratoga Springs is shown on April 30.
Photographer: Erica Miller

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Owners of Lake Local have expedited expansion plans for their Saratoga Lake property along Union Avenue following an April electrical fire

The owners are looking to construct a 10-room bed and breakfast, 25-room inn, 444-seat restaurant with an outdoor band shelter, expand the existing kayak and board shop to include a convenience store and deli, and add 32 additional boat slips. 

Lake Local, at 550 Union Ave., opened for its fourth season on April 26, but an electrical fire severely damaged the business three days later.

Mike Phinney, one of the owners, appeared before the city's Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday seeking variances for the proposed project

The remaining primary owners, according to a project narrative by Saratoga Springs-based Phinney Design Group, include Jon Haynes, Dan Collins, Ray Bryan and John Boyle. 

Silent partners, who comprise less than 12 percent ownership, include Martin Ferrillo, Kyle Kordich and Marianne Mustafa of Saratoga Springs, and Tim Collins of Colorado. 

The owners first submitted expansion plans in March 2017. They are looking to construct the proposed development in phases with the restaurant opening first next summer followed by the inn in 2022 and the bed and breakfast by 2024.

The three-acre property currently has a restaurant with 90 indoor seats and 189 outdoor seats and a 776-square-foot board rental shop, which would be expanded to 1,200-square-feet, pending city approval.

Vice Chaimanr Keith Kaplan said he would like the owners to make improvements with regard to noise mitigation for the outdoor band shelter. 

"I want to see more sound proofing," he said. "It doesn't seem adequate right now."

Like Kaplan, Mary Skevington, who lives close to Lake Local on Crescent Avenue, is also concerned about noise as well as safety and density. 

"There are over 800 boat slips within the narrow area near Lake Local and there are paddleboarders who stream through this area, and we truly worry about seeing an accident," she said to the Zoning Board of Appeals. "If they're struck, it won't be an injury — it will be a death.

"It's a tragedy we want to avoid."

Skevington said while she's not opposed to a restaurant on the lake, she wants the owners to re-evaluate the proposed development.  

"I personally think there are so many issues with the scale of this project," she told the board. "Everyone on the lake supports a restaurant and loves going there, but this should be scaled back. 

"It's too high, too big and too dense." 

The Phinney Design Group said the owners purchased two parcels of land — one at 548 Union Ave. and another at 550 Union Ave. — in 2015. Boyle also purchased an existing house at 538 Union Ave., which contained 22 single-family trailers, a marina, board shop and existing restaurant called the "Tropic Hut." 

"The property and businesses had unfortunately fallen into a derelict state, far from the heyday of when the property was home to the 'Bayshore Inn and Restaurant' at least as far back as 1946," the Phinney Design Group's project narrative states. "The original vision for the property was to renovate and expand the existing restaurant and to replace all or most of the trailers with pre-fabricated modern cottages or 'tiny homes' that would largely provide seasonal rentals."

According to the Phinney Design Group, the owners were told by officials with the city's Building, Planning and Zoning departments that replacing the trailers was not compliant with the city's existing zoning laws. 

"However, the planning staff did highlight the overlay zoning district and the ability for the property to allow a 25-room inn and a 10-room bed and breakfast with a special use permit," the project narrative states. "It was determined by the group that a renovated restaurant, marina and hospitality lodging would be the preferred redevelopment uses, compliant with current zoning codes and the comprehensive plan for the City of Saratoga Springs."

The Zoning Board of Appeals decided to review Planning Board meeting minutes that pertain to the parking for the proposed development before their next meeting. 

The board is scheduled to meet on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 474 Broadway in Saratoga Springs. 

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