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“Lake George Stormwater Regulations Prompt Dissent” –The Sun

Aug 22, 2016

BY THOM RANDALL | Original Source

{Photo provided}

LAKE GEORGE — A presentation of pending stormwater regulations prompted considerable discussion at the August town board meeting, regardless of the fact they are required under state law.

The regulations prohibit illegal discharge of polluted water into sewer systems as well as requiring property owners to take steps to control erosion, particularly at construction sites where over an acre of land is disturbed — before, during and after the construction work occurs.

Several people raised objections to the proposed local regulations, town codes Chapter 147 and 148, despite the fact they are mandated by the state under its Small Municipal Stormwater Sewer Systems (MS4) program. 

The town’s consulting engineer, Sean Doty of the Chazen Companies, explained that the town of Lake George had to enact the stormwater regulations soon, and they have to be equivalent to the state standards.

Lake George Town Planning Director Dan Barusch said the town could face stiff fines if the ordinances weren’t in place by March.

 He added that the stormwater regulations wouldn’t substantially change how the town is already monitoring and regulating stormwater discharges.

Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson said that through their pending MS4 regulations, the state is shifting its enforcement responsibility to local municipalities.

“Our town board is definitely an unwilling participant in this program,” he said. “It’s another unfunded mandate, but were trying to comply with the law.”

But Dawn Koncikowski — a property rights advocate who sent out an email on behalf of Lake George Residents United to dozens of local residents urging them to attend the meeting — said the town didn’t need more regulations.

“We should keep same regulations we have right now — what we have is already more restrictive than the state, she said, complaining that the town hadn’t provided details of the law to the public. Dan Barusch responded to the latter accusation, noting that the text of the proposed legislation was indeed readily available, published on the town’s website.

A number of residents expressed dismay that the state is the worst offender in not controlling stormwater runoff in town, particularly polluted water flowing off the Northway and state Route 9.

“The state is the worst culprit of non-point pollution — but they don’t have to adhere to their own regulations,” local resident Mike Lanfear said. “If the state implements this law, why don’t they adhere to it? It’s outrageous. If we do it right, they should too.”

Business owner and developer John Carr said he wasn’t opposed to stormwater controls, but he wanted to make sure an additional layer of regulatory authority wasn’t created with the MS4 requirements.

“I’m trying to read through all this and determine who this is really aimed at,” he said of the MS4-mandated regulations.

Barusch said the town hold another meeting on the proposed stormwater regulations, and invite state Department of Environmental officials to attend and explain their requirements.

Tuesday, he said the meeting was scheduled as a public hearing at 5 p.m. Monday Sept. 12, and he was requesting via a formal letter that DEC officials attend.

A public informational meeting on the town septic initiative — a program to upgrade on-site septic systems — has been set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13.

After several years of public debate, the town government now has a new septic system regulations consistent with state laws.

The prior town ordinance regulating on-site septic systems was about four decades old, with some of its stipulations more restrictive, particularly in setback requirements and capacity formulas.

The new septic regulations were established at the August board meeting, following the Adirondack Park Agency’s approval weeks ago.

While for years the septic regulations had prompted controversy — primarily from Lake George Residents United — the new septic system ordinance was passed Aug. 8 without any verbal wrangling.

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