Protect the Adirondacks has a number of concerns about the proposed 120-room Lake George Marriott hotel and convention center on Canada Street in the Village of Lake George. As a 6-story building, the project will stand out mightily from any other structure around it. The high school next door is three stories at its highest point. This new hotel will be the tallest building in the history of Lake George.

This project was approved by the Village of Lake George in a 3-2 vote. As a class A regional project due to its height at over 60 feet this project requires a full permit from the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). At this point the project is the pre-application phase, but the APA is expected to act rapidly.

See PROTECT’s comment letter to the APA here. PROTECT will continue to monitor this project as it moves through the APA review.

Below is a map that shows the location on upper Canada Street at the north end of the Village of Lake George.

An aerial view of Lake George Village with Canada Street at the top. The proposed Lake George Marriott is highlighted in yellow.

Below are various visual simulations of current views and views once the hotel is built.

Current view from the south of project on Canada Street.

View from the south of project on Canada Street once the Lake George Marriott is built.

Current view from the rear of the project on Ottawa Street.

View from the rear of the project on Ottawa Street once the Lake George Marriott is built.

Current view from north of project site on Canada Street.

View from north of project site on Canada Street once the Lake George Marriott is built.

Current view from north of project site from the surface of Lake George.

View from the surface of Lake George once the Lake George Marriott is built.

Here’s a list of the issues that PROTECT believes the APA should evaluate.

Capacity of Sewage Treatment Plant: There are many questions around the capacity of the Lake George municipal sewage treatment plant to handle the increased volumes from this facility. A recent study funded by the Department of State (DOS) looked at stream discharges to Lake George from around the lake. West Brook was found to be the biggest single source of nutrient loading to Lake George. West Brook loads at a significantly higher rate than other streams in the basin.

One thing that sets West Brook apart is that the sewage treatment plant leaches nutrients into it through the groundwater. West Brook is downslope from the sewage treatment plant, about 1/3 of a mile away. Nitrogen and phosphorus leach from the sewage treatment plant through the ground water to West Brook.

The charts above show the vast difference in nitrogen per acre released into West Brook compared with two other major streams in the Lake George watershed. Source: Darrin Fresh Water Institute/Lake George Watershed Coalition/NYSDOS.

The two charts above are from an interim report from the RPI Darrin Fresh Water Institute to the Lake George Watershed Coalition, a project of the Department of State, on its Lake George streams study. Note that West Brook loads far more nitrogen to Lake George than other streams when isolated for loading per acre. The source is the sewage treatment plant. High nutrient loading at the south end of Lake George is the principal cause for the formation of the annual “dead zone” hypoxic area that forms each summer-fall in Lake George.

This stream study shows how urban impacts can change water quality. The water values from the natural stream flowing off of Prospect Mountain are beautiful, but then the impacts from the Northway, sewage treatment plant, Route 9, and Lake George Village’s urbanized zone dramatically degrade water quality. The biggest single impact for nutrient loading is when West Brook receives leaching groundwater from the sewage treatment plant. See charts below for Total Nitrogen, which shows the stark difference in nitrogen loading in West Brook compared with other streams, and for Total Soluble Phosphorus, which features sample points above and below the sewage treatment plant.

The high levels of nitrogen in West Brook are caused by the sewage treatment plant. Nitrogen levels are much lower on West Brook at points above the sewage treatment plant.

The charts above shows the significant difference in water quality in West Brook above (Gage Brook sampling station) and below the point where the sewage treatment plant leaches into West Brook through ground water. The difference in water quality upstream and downstream from the sewage plant is undeniable.

The proposed Lake George Marriott has stated it will generate 17,000-28,000 gallons a day of wastewater to the sewage treatment plant. The plant’s capacity to handle this increased volume must be evaluated during the APA review.

Rotted pipe at the mouth of a buried stream as it enters Lake George across the street from the site of the proposed Lake George Marriott.

Channelized and Enclosed Stream Runs Under/Near Property and May be Used for Stormwater Discharges: The Marine Village resort property is across the street from the Lake George Marriott. It also owned by Mr. Kenny, the Lake George Marriott sponsor. An underground stream enters lake George on the Marine Village beach. This stream has been channelized and put in pipes underground as it runs through the Village, in the area of the Lake George Marriott site. This stream shows a constant flow and during storms runs black. It appears that various properties dump untreated stormwater into this undergrounded stream.

The APA needs to scrutinize the impacts of this project on this undergrounded stream, which pollutes Lake George because it receives untreated stormwater. The Development Considerations in Section 805 Section 4 of the APA Act clearly include stream habitat protection and impacts on drainage, runoff, existing flow characteristics, and water quality as an issue.

Stormwater Management: The applicant should be asked about making use of pervious pavement in the parking lot. The infiltration trenches and other devices do not seem adequate to handle storms of 1 inch or more. The site should be verified to see if existing infrastructure drains into the buried stream.

During construction the large sidewalk in front of the hotel will be ripped up and replaced. The APA should ensure that a pervious pavement sidewalk is installed. This sidewalk should include tree wells big enough for mature trees. PROTECT also urges the applicant to investigate a green roof for the hotel.

Last, the APA should investigate whether the current lot meets the Lake George Village codes for 10% code pervious area. We do not believe that it does. There are ample opportunities for stormwater retrofits on the parking lot design.

Size and Scale: Local concerns have focused on the massive change in scale from the existing row of 2-story restaurants to a long monolithic 6-story hotel. Local residents argue it’s simply too big and disrupts community character.

Here’s what one Lake George resident wrote about the Village approval and the Lake George Marriott proposal in the Post Star:

“Very disappointing decision. I would hope that anyone who is concerned, whether they are for or against this project actually go to the site and stand there in front of Barleycorns or one of the other 2 story buildings there. Then picture something that is 3 times higher!!! Need another perspective…the high school gym is about 2.5 stories high. Picture something that is going to be over twice as high as that standing next to it. It simply does not fit in the village, especially on the postage stamp piece of property they are trying to shoehorn this thing into. Yes, Mr. Kenny has a right to use the property he purchased, but not to the detriment of all who love and live or visit Lake George. This project is a monstrosity and I can only hope the APA will have the common sense to say no.”

Many local residents share this concern that the Lake George Marriott is out of scale with all other commercial facilities in that part of town. The only other building that comes close to the Lake George Marriott in height is the 5-story Fort William Henry (see below). The major difference is that the Fort William Henry is part of a 15-acre parcel and is set back from the road.

The 5-story Fort William at the south end of Lake George.

Alternative Designs: The proposed Marriott has a large parking lot in the back of its proposed 6-story building. What if the hotel included a 2-story parking garage and then put hotel rooms and conference center facilities over the parking garage. In this way, could the whole building be lowered to a 4-story, rather than 6-story building? That opens up an option to move the restaurant to a large roof than could be designed as an attractive green roof with outdoor seating. It would provide stunning views for patrons of Lake George and Prospect and French Mountains, yet not be nearly as disruptive in size and scale as the current design.

A green roof should also be examined.

Public Meeting: PROTECT notes that a number of concerned local residents have requested that the APA hold a public meeting in Lake George to hear concerns about this project. PROTECT supports this request.

Anyone who wishes to send a comment can send it to:

RE: Lake George Marriot Hotel and Convention Center APA Project 2013-64
Ms. Colleen Parker
NYS Adirondack Park Agency
PO Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977

Fax: 518.891.3938