Higher Saranac marina docked, awaiting full utility

Higher Saranac marina docked, awaiting full utility
Higher Saranac marina docked, awaiting full utility
The marina web site on Fish Creek Ponds photographed June 7, 2022. Photograph by Zachary Matson.

APA seeks extra knowledge on proposed growth mission

By Zachary Matson

Marina builders stirring resistance on each Higher and Decrease Saranac lakes have filed a allow utility to broaden the previous Hickok Boat Livery on Fish Creek Ponds, leaving the Adirondack Park Company with a number of questions. 

The USL Marina improvement group filed for an APA industrial use allow in September. The company responded with a discover of incomplete utility Oct. 18, in search of extra details about parking, wastewater remedy, anticipated boat measurement, environmental protections and plans for different buildings on the property. 

The marina proposal has confronted opposition from neighbors round Fish Creek Ponds who’ve raised issues that the event will enhance boat visitors on surrounding ponds and lakes, creating new issues of safety. They’ve additionally contested USL Marina’s assertion the previous Hickok marina housed upwards of 76 boats.

marina map
Design plans exhibiting the docks to be eliminated in crimson and the proposed docks in blue. From the Adirondack Park Company utility.

As the appliance makes its method by the APA, a broader query about how the state company approves lakefront improvement hovers over the proposal. The identical builders behind USL Marina have been permitted in 2020 to broaden a separate marina on Decrease Saranac Lake, however that approval was challenged in court docket by former Division of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Tom Jorling. 

In an enchantment of a choice dismissing his go well with, Jorling has argued the APA shouldn’t have authorised that mission with no examine of what makes use of the close by lakes can maintain. A trio of environmental teams in current court docket filings contended that state companies can’t know whether or not the mission would trigger an adversarial impression on close by state lands with out first learning a water physique’s “carrying capability.” Detractors on Fish Creek Ponds have raised an identical argument in interviews and public feedback in regards to the USL Marina mission.



The proposal earlier than APA envisions changing the marina’s previous docks with new coated, floating docks that might attain as a lot as 200 ft into Fish Creek Ponds from the shoreline.

The builders plan to take away one 4,050-square-foot coated dock and 17 smaller uncovered docks totaling 4,525 sq. ft, which stretch the size of the positioning’s roughly 910 ft of shoreline. The 8,575 sq. ft of eliminated docks would get replaced with over 34,000 sq. ft of recent docks, together with over 31,000 sq. ft of coated docks. The plan would add 22 new slips – a 29% enhance – and triple the quantity of dock area per boat slip, in accordance with the appliance. 

Dozens of property house owners round Fish Creek Ponds and the slender creek that connects to Higher Saranac Lake signed a petition opposing the mission, citing worries the growth will enhance boat visitors past what the realm can help. Additionally they dispute what number of boat slips the builders say the positioning has had traditionally, highlighting the previous boat livery’s historical past renting canoes and row boats. 

“There has by no means been something like that,” Dick Gunthert, who has owned a property throughout the lake from the marina for 50 years, mentioned of the growth proposal. 

Dick Gunthert is opposed to the marina
Dick Gunthert, who has owned a camp on Fish Creek Ponds for many years, is against the proposed marina growth. Photograph by Zachary Matson.

Design plans present that whereas the docking footprint would shrink alongside the size of the shorebank, it might stretch a lot additional into the water. The general sq. footage of the docks would additionally enhance almost 4 instances the present measurement, together with over 20,000 sq. ft of recent coated docks.

The plan doesn’t present new parking areas, which the APA requested for extra particulars about. APA additionally requested if the marina may change its wastewater remedy system, take away different buildings or embrace different environmental protections within the ultimate design. The applying signifies the builders wish to begin development within the spring and function with the brand new docks by the summer season boating season.

The applying was signed by realtor Michael Damp and lawyer Matt Norfolk, each primarily based in Lake Placid. Norfolk on Thursday mentioned the event group was reviewing the state’s requests and creating responses. 


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He argued the marina renovations would enhance security on the pond, highlighting a no-wake zone that might encompass the docks, and urged few environmental issues have been raised in regards to the mission. He mentioned the design group counted the variety of current boat slips on the web site and proposed to broaden the scale of the docks to fulfill present requirements and boater expectations. 

“The (proposed) docks are extra conformed to modern-day,” Norfolk mentioned.

Norfolk mentioned points associated to the carrying capability of lakes shouldn’t be handled within the context of a personal allow utility, echoing arguments he has made within the Decrease Saranac case. 

Hickok’s Boat Livery on Decrease Fish Creek Ponds off state Route 30. Photograph by Mike Lynch

Keith Stoltz, a Pennsylvania-based developer with property and philanthropic pursuits within the Adirondacks, controls the restricted legal responsibility company that owns the property, in accordance with information.  

Fish Creek Ponds join the sprawling Fish Creek Campground to Higher Saranac Lake by a slender channel. Locals mentioned the channel typically clogs with boat visitors in the course of the busiest weeks of the yr and mentioned the marina growth would exacerbate the issue. 

After the mission was first proposed, the city of Santa Clara imposed a moratorium on industrial improvement to develop new codes for industrial marina initiatives. The city adopted the updates earlier this yr and granted approval to the marina mission this summer season.

The mission utility remained incomplete as of Thursday, APA spokesperson Keith McKeever mentioned. The company will schedule a public listening to on the proposal after the appliance is full.


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