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Comprehensive plan another step forward for Lake Placid village

April 3, 2014
Editorial , Lake Placid News

Many community leaders around the U.S. have adopted comprehensive plans to help them achieve a unified vision for their hometowns, and many of these documents end up sitting on shelves never to be used, with time and money wasted.

But not in Lake Placid. The comprehensive plan gets used like a roadmap and revised like any good plan. There is clear vision, planning and follow-through, and we're proud to have such caring and dedicated community planners here in Lake Placid. It's another reason this community is a world leader.

Town of North Elba and village of Lake Placid officials are poised to adopt a revised comprehensive plan that includes both municipalities as one community, as they did in 1997. The Lake Placid-North Elba Community Development Board, under the chairmanship of Dean Dietrich, spent years updating the 17-year-old plan.

Let's be clear that this is a plan for Lake Placid, not the entire town of North Elba, which includes the village of Lake Placid, the hamlet of Ray Brook and a chunk of the village of Saranac Lake. The plan contains no specific goals for the Ray Brook or Saranac Lake portions of North Elba, which raise a lot of occupancy, sales and property tax revenues.

We commend board members for their work, plus the dozens of people who volunteered for the seven committees. Lastly, the supporting organizations - including the town and village boards - deserve recognition.

Now's your chance to have a final say on the updated comprehensive plan before it's adopted by the town and village. The public hearing starts at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 8 in the first floor conference room at the North Elba Town Hall. People may ask questions and give comments after a brief presentation.

We encourage residents to read the plan ahead of time. It is available as a PDF document on the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism website (

The comprehensive plan is organized in seven sections: government structure and function, economy and tourism, community facilities and services, mobility, environment and natural resources, and land use and design. For each, there are vision statements along with goals and implementation measures (see Page 2).

This is a big plan when you look at it, and we firmly believe that if all the goals are achieved, Lake Placid will be a much better place to live.

If there's one major theme in this plan, it's that Lake Placid is faced with many challenges, most of which stem from the pressures of being a popular resort town. With high real estate values, seniors and much of the village's workforce are pushed out of town for affordable housing. Parking poses problems. An increase in vacation rentals have turned some neighborhoods dark at certain times of the year. Invasive species need to be kept in check. A vital residential population, workforce and small business community can continue to dwindle if action isn't taken. And this plan has answers for all these challenges and more.

With the plan complete, the real work begins.



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