The Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) has submitted a letter to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) opposing an amendment to a pre-existing permit. The APA is currently reviewing a proposed project to build on the last remaining undeveloped lot of the Deerwood subdivision, located where the former Saranac Inn property drew its water.
The existing 1988 APA permit allowed for the subdivision of the lots but provided strict regulation to preserve the integrity of the wetland and protect the water quality of Upper Saranac Lake (USL). The current proposed amendment deals specifically with a septic system, but is just a first of a series of other related amendments. These include:
- An onsite septic system (current permit prohibits onsite septic systems).
- A reduction of the septic setback from the minimum required 200 feet from the wetlands to 100 feet.
- Five-bedroom home within 100 feet of a sensitive wetland — terminating existing trails systems that are part of the HOA.
- Garage with living quarters (current permit allows for one dwelling per lot).
- Undefined tree removal (current permit prohibits vegetative cutting or other disturbances within the boundaries of the wetlands).
- Wooden walkways spanning the wetlands (in excess of the size and location specified in the current permit).
- Boat house (current permit allows for a dock, but specifically not a boat house).
USF believes that these proposed amendments will severely disrupt the fragile wetland ecosystem and have an undue adverse impact to the shoreline and the lake. The original 1988 subdivision would not have been approved without a series of important conditions. Each of these conditions was set because of Deerwood’s significance to the water quality of the USL. The Deerwood wetland complex includes species indicative of a high-quality and biologically diverse wetland and serves as a buffer and filter to enhance water quality in the lake.
Other property owners who purchased in the Deerwood subdivision did so knowing what the restrictions were and have abided by the guidance provided in the APA permit. For the benefit of the lake, USF feels the same should apply for any future development. While USF does not oppose responsible development, based on monitoring and our long-term knowledge of USL and the watershed, our Board would be negligent not to speak on behalf of the lake. USF also recognizes and supports the efforts of area residents who have shared significant concerns.