In February, the Santa Clara Town Board voted to adopt a moratorium on commercial development.
The moratorium, which lasts until June 30, 2021, will provide the Town of Santa Clara with time to develop and enact new regulations governing commercial development. This moratorium will affect zoning districts that include four prominent properties in the watershed: Saranac Inn Golf and Country Club (currently for sale), the Point, Donaldson’s, and the newly purchased Upper Saranac Lake Marina (formerly Hickok’s).
With plans to expand the marina already formalized and submitted, the town has hired a professional planning services company. Chazen Consultants will work with a special committee made up of the town’s Variance and Planning board members to develop marina regulations in the interim. This committee anticipates providing opportunities for public comment at a future date but are currently taking only written comments.
With the marina having a significant impact on the Upper Saranac Lake watershed, Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) has submitted suggestions to the town board to formalize a comprehensive and detailed land-use code regulation. USF’s remarks provide input to better protect water quality and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).
USF indicated strong support to incorporate and implement the following into a new land use code:
- An AIS Spread Prevention Plan that includes mandatory watercraft inspections, decontaminations, monitoring, and outreach and education.
- Green infrastructure practices to reduce stormwater runoff, erosion, nutrient infiltration, and sediment control measures that include limiting impervious surfaces, providing shoreline setbacks, and minimizing disturbed areas.
- Requiring shoreline vegetative buffers, creation of stormwater bio-retention basins, and infiltration swales or trenches appropriate for potential stormwater runoff volume.
- Conduct a comprehensive water body carrying capacity analysis related to potential increases to determine the water body’s ability to withstand various watercraft uses and boater traffic in relation to the impact of size, noise, speeds, wakes, and wave action on the natural resources, and consumers and residential social carrying capacity.
- Onsite wastewater management that includes bringing all non-conforming preexisting systems up to current standards and prohibiting the discharge of harmful pollutants into the groundwater through floor drains or other means of disposal.
To help protect the Upper Saranac Lake Watershed, USF encourages its users to provide their own input during the open comment period by submitting electronic comments to email@example.com or to the following address: Santa Clara Town Clerk, 5359 State Route 30, Saranac Lake, NY 12983.