LAKE GEORGE – Some Warren County rulers have serious concerns about the proposed law requiring sewage plant inspection when moving property, but are letting the public ponder the legislation next month.
The Board of Directors agreed to schedule a public hearing at Lake George Town Hall on November 17 at 7:00 p.m. for the public to provide feedback. This takes place in addition to the regular Supervisory Board meeting, which is scheduled for November 19 at 10 a.m.
The law would require an inspection of sewage treatment plants located within 250 feet of certain bodies of water when the property is transferred. It applies to properties on Lake George, Schroon Lake, Schroon River, Brant Lake, Loon Lake, Lake Lucerne, Friends Lake, and the Hudson River.
Lake George supervisor Dennis Dickinson is against the proposal. He fears that this would put too much strain on the district.
He cited a figure that there are about 2,600 property transfers per year in Warren County. He believes that around 1500 would fall under this law. He said this would require the county to hire someone to review these septic plans.
“I think it’s going to blow up in our faces,” he said.
He also questioned the need for legislation.
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“We don’t have specific information to support their claim that there are a number of septic system failures,” he said.
The city has its own initiative to help people modernize sewage treatment plants. He said these homeowners could pay half the cost of $ 12,000 for a replacement system through a grant.
Additionally, he believes most of these lots will require a derogation as the sewage treatment plant may be closer to the building or bank than the code allows.
Dickinson said he believed some property sales could be stopped by this law. He cited a recent example where an engineer discovered that a resident’s septic system was failing. Another engineer said that was not the case.
According to Dickinson, hiring an engineer and completing that process could take 6 months.
“People won’t wait that long to buy a piece of land. It’s just not going to happen, ”he said.
The proposed law allows communities to opt out of whatever Lake George intends to do.
The opt-out provision was one of the concerns of Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Mike Wild.
“It has to be comprehensive. It must be all bodies of water. It must be tributaries, ”he said.
Additionally, he is concerned that some people may not be able to fund a $ 30,000 worth of septic system upgrade.
Lake Alfalfa Gene Merlino said he was also concerned about the cost and whether the law could stop someone from selling their home.
Horicon supervisor Sylvia Smith said she wasn’t comfortable moving forward. She said other bodies of water such as Crystal Lake and Beaver Pond are not included. She said she could imagine the complaints that will come from property owners wondering why Brant Lake and Schroon Lake must comply with the law, but residents of other lakes do not.
Queensbury Warden John Strough, whose town passed a similar bill, believes this county bill needs more work. He said he believed that legislation should take into account design standards for septic systems. Queensbury needs sewage treatment plants installed in the city to provide advanced treatment.
He also pointed out that the Lake George Park Commission was working on a similar bill.
Glens Falls 2nd Ward Supervisor Peter McDevitt pointed out that Village Mayor Robert Blais also does not support the proposal and believes it needs to be adopted by both Lake George officials.
Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer, who served as chair of the Special Committee on Septic Relocation Laws, said that some of the issues Dickinson raised were discussed and that legislation was the result of compromise. She would rather have regular inspections of the systems than when the property is handed over.
She was concerned when a noxious algal bloom formed in Lake George last year. HABs are caused by excessive accumulation of nutrients in lakes.
Braymer said she wanted to make sure people are checking their systems.
“The whole purpose of this law is to protect the environment and also public health,” she said.
Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Doug Beaty said this was an extremely important issue with one in six jobs related to tourism.
“If we lose our lakes, we lose the county. That’s about as clear as it gets, ”he said.
Johnsburg regulator Andrea Hogan said not many properties in her city will be affected, but the special committee has done its job and she believes the public hearing law should be pushed forward.
Other guards agreed that local residents should have the opportunity to comment on the law.
“We can go back to the drawing board. But I think it’s time to get the public input, ”said Dan Bruno, the 4th station manager.
Chester supervisor Craig Leggett said the law respects house rules by providing the opt-out provision. He said many of these lots were older and not compliant. The time to catch these failing systems is when ownership is transferred. The cost of a new system can be negotiated as part of the property price.
Queensbury at-Large supervisor Brad Magowan said it wasn’t a perfect law, but he believes it is a start to making sure Lake George is protected.
“It is better to act now than to find out later that we should have acted sooner,” he said.
Thurman supervisor Susan Shepler said the county should send postcards to the roughly 4,500 law-affected lots to notify them of the public hearings.
The board agreed to draw some money from the reserve fund to create such a mailing.
Michael Goot covers Politics, Crime & Courts, Warren County, Education, and Business. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or [email protected]
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