SARANAC LAKE - The village Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing next month on a proposal to allow contractor yards in certain areas of the village.
The village is already home to plenty of contractor yards, which village code defines as places where contractors can store supplies, machines and equipment, inside or outside a building. But the current code does not identify any areas of the village where contractor yards can be located, according to Community Development Director Jeremy Evans.
"Contractor yards technically aren't permitted anywhere in the village," Evans said. "But they need to be somehow. We have them already, and it's a big part of our economy. There should be areas in the village where they're permitted."
The draft local law, which would amend the village land-use code, was proposed after two local contractors, both of whom are currently running for village office, unsuccessfully tried to put what Evans considered to be contractor yards in different parts of the village.
Mayoral candidate Clyde Rabideau, president of Rabideau Corp., approached the village last year about buying property on Lake Flower Avenue and using it for a contractor yard.
"That's when I first looked into it and realized it was defined, but not allowed anywhere," Evans said. "I made the determination he couldn't apply for a permit to do that. He argued his case to the Zoning Board of Appeals, and they upheld my decision."
Village of Saranac Lake, New York
Local Law ##-2009
Amending the Village of Saranac Lake Land Use Code to include 'Contractor's Yard' as a Conditional Use in the C1, C4, D2, G, and J1 Zoning Districts
CHART 3.2 USE SCHEDULE BY DISTRICT AND SUBDISTRICT of the Village of Saranac Lake Land Use Code is hereby amended to include 'Contractor's Yard' as a Conditional Use in the C1, C4, D2, G, and J1 Zoning Districts,
Article 5 Additional Regulations of the Village of Saranac Lake Land Use Code is hereby amended to include the following new Section 5.14 Contractor's Yards:
Section 5.14 Contractor Yards
The following additional regulations shall apply to all Contractor Yards where permitted by special use permit within the Village:
All supplies and equipment shall be stored inside or within a defined outdoor storage area screened and secured by walls or fences as required by subsection 5.14C below. All outdoor storage areas shall be located to the side or rear of the principal building. Supplies and equipment stored outdoors shall be neatly arranged.
2.5 off-street parking spaces shall be provided for each 1,000 sq. ft. of office space.
A solid wall or solid opaque fence designed to conceal, screen, and secure the outdoor storage area from all adjoining properties and the street shall be constructed and maintained in good condition. Walls and fences shall comply with the following requirements:
Walls and fences shall meet the minimum principal building setback requirements for the Zoning District where the Contractor Yard is located;
Fences and walls shall be between eight (8) and ten (10) feet in height;
Fence and wall material shall be that which is designed and intended for use in such installations, including decorative masonry (e.g., brick, stone, or textured and pigmented concrete) and decorative wood. Makeshift material such as 2" x 4" lumber and plywood is not permitted.
A landscaped planting strip not less than four (4) feet in depth, planted with shrubs or trees which are not less than three (3) feet high at the time of planting and which are of a type that may be expected to form a year round dense screen at least four (4) feet high within three (3) years shall be required along all walls or fencing to soften and improve the visual impact of required walls and fencing. The landscaped planting strip shall be maintained in good condition at all times, including the replacement of any shrubs or trees which are damaged, die or otherwise fail to grow. Upon approval from the Planning Board, existing trees and vegetation may be used to meet this requirement.
Dumpsters and trash receptacles shall be located and screened as required by Section 5.08 Dumpsters. Dumpsters located inside a defined storage area installed in accordance with this section shall be considered screened and in compliance with Section 5.08 Dumpsters.
All outside lighting shall be directed away from adjacent properties.
Any expansion of a Contractor Yard outside the originally permitted screened area shall require a new Special Use Permit.
The Development Administrator shall conduct an annual inspection of any Contractor's Yard that receives a Special Permit after the adoption of these additional regulations to ensure continued compliance with these regulations and any additional conditions imposed by the Planning Board. Pursuant to Section 6.04 (5) Standards Governing Special Permits, the Development Administrator may revoke any Special Permit for non-compliance.
The Planning Board may impose additional conditions as authorized by Article 6 SPECIAL USE PERMITS (FOR CONDITIONAL USES) to protect the best interests of the surrounding property, the neighborhood, or the Village of Saranac Lake as a whole.
This local law shall take effect immediately upon filing with the New York State Secretary of State as required by law.
Rabideau then wrote a letter to the village suggesting the land-use code be amended to spell out areas where contractor yards are permitted. He recommended they be made a "conditional use," which would require site-plan review by the village Planning Board.
Rabideau said he's no longer planning to buy the Lake Flower Avenue property but still plans on locating a contractor yard somewhere in the village, once the code is amended to identify the areas where they can be located.
Not long after Rabideau contacted the village, Evans said he talked to Allie Pelletieri, the owner of Lakeside Masonry and a current village trustee candidate, who was looking to move his business to a garage at the corner of Petrova and Lake streets.
"I ran into a lot of trouble with the village saying I couldn't do it, that I'd have to get this variance and that variance, and do all these things to screen it, which just made it prohibitive," Pelletieri told the Enterprise last month.
"It was the same problem Clyde ran into," Evans said. "I had to give Allie the same determination. After that I wrote up the new regulations and started the process of getting planning board feedback and bringing it to the village board."
The draft local law would allow contractor yards to be a "conditional use" in five village zoning districts: D2, C1, C4, G, and J1. The D2, C1 and C4 districts stretch from the Moody Pond area to Payeville Road, including a long stretch of Pine Street. The G zoning district is located at the northern end of the village and includes part of state Route 86, Van Buren Street and the John Munn Road area. The J1 district includes most of Lake Street and portions of the George LaPan Highway (state Route 3) and Algonquin Avenue.
Evans said those areas were picked because they're already home to existing contractor yards or are considered light-industrial-use areas of the village.
To protect the residential areas where contractor yards could potentially be allowed, Evans said the local law includes additional regulations based on similar measures enacted in other communities.
"A property may be appropriate for a contractor yard, but we've got to make sure it's done in a way that doesn't diminish the property values and safety of everyone who lives nearby," he said.
Supplies and equipment would have to be stored inside or within a "defined outdoor storage area screened and secured by walls or fences." Fences and walls would have to be between 8 and 10 feet in height. A landscaped planting strip would be required to soften and improve the visual impact of the walls and fencing.
The regulations would also require outdoor storage areas to be located to the side or rear of the building on the site. Supplies and equipment stored outdoors would have to be "neatly arranged." Dumpsters and other trash receptacles would also have to be screened.
The local law also requires the village development administrator, Evans, to conduct an annual inspection of any contractors yard that receives a permit under the new regulations.
Trustee John McEneany, a building contractor with a shop in a commercially zoned area of the village, provided feedback on screening and fencing that was used in the drafting of the local law.
"The whole focus of the thing is to allow or put under control a situation that already exists, but have some rules and regulations for them," he said. "Now we need to hear from the people who will be immediately impacted in these areas. The neighbor next door may have something he wants to say about it."
The public hearing will be held April 12 at 7 p.m.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or email@example.com.