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Hall of Fame rocker Weinberg plans for Placid home

June 15, 2017
By ANTONIO OLIVERO - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Plans are in for the Lake Placid property Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Max Weinberg purchased last year for nearly $1.1 million-per-acre - the highest ever at the time for a single lot without buildings in the Adirondack Park.

Weinberg, the longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and bandleader of Conan O'Brien's late-night television shows, proposes to build a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired, three bedroom 1,800-square foot cottage as well as a boathouse big enough to fit a 33-foot long Gar Wood motorboat, a family heirloom, on the 1.84-acre lot.

The property sits on a cape on the east shore of Lake Placid, has an attractive view of Whiteface Mountain and has road access at 571 Mount Whitney Way.

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Max Weinberg, left, speaks in front of the North Elba-Lake Placid Joint Review Board at a June 7 meeting.
(News photo — Antonio Olivero)

"The intent of this house is to be a little jewel in the pine grove," Weinberg said.

"We want it to have a fade-away feel," he added, "being mindful of the lake and this general area."

There is an initial hitch with Weinberg's plan, though. He will seek a variance from the North Elba and Lake Placid joint Zoning Board of Appeals to build a boathouse larger than the land-use code permits. Weinberg is scheduled to present in front of the zoning board at its next meeting, June 26 at 5:30 p.m.

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Weinberg presented his plans to the North Elba and Lake Placid Joint Review Board at its June 7 meeting, and he said he's also submitted his application to the state Adirondack Park Agency.

Per the town and village's joint land-use code, boathouses are permitted to extend 32 feet into the lake. But Weinberg is proposing his boathouse to extend 56 feet, based on review board Chairman Bill Hurley's calculations, which include a 16-foot dock.

"The design was both propelled forward by the 33-foot boat, which wouldn't comfortably fit in 32 feet," Weinberg said at the meeting, "and the desire to not take up more shoreline and to dredge, which would be impractical in that area. The concern for making sure that our neighbors are not impacted in any way."

"If I had a boat for 40 years," Hurley said, "I'd ask for (the additional) 4 feet (of cover) to put my boat into too. I don't know if you are going to get a 16-foot dock on top of that; that's all I'm saying. I have no problem with you going for what you are going for. ... You have a very valid reason for wanting a big boathouse."

"The point on the dock is well taken," Weinberg said.

As part of his presentation, Weinberg explained that the boat has been in his family for many decades. That includes a time period between 1946, when the boat was purchased, and 1966 when it was used to provide water sport activities at a family-operated summer camp on a lake in the Poconos.

"So all through my camping experience, I've used this boat," Weinberg said. "It's my father's pride and joy."

When Weinberg's father died in 1984, the musician said one of the items left to him was the boat. Since then, he said, he pursued an ideal lakefront property for the boat. He added that his family eventually settled on targeting Lake Placid for their lakefront home as his family grew to love Lake Placid during winters when his sons competed in Can/Am Hockey tournaments.

Weinberg then said his family subsequently grew to love Lake Placid in the summer after he vacationed here at the recommendation of "a colleague in the business I work in whose daughter trained as an equestrian up here in the summers." Weinberg was referring to Springsteen and his daughter Jessica, who has competed in the Lake Placid Horse Shows.

"Certainly we love Lake Placid," Weinberg said, "and (my wife and I) want to make an investment here and become residents."

Weinberg went on to say that his proposed home and boathouse was designed by Wisconsin architect Floyd Hamblen. Weinberg added that he is a lifelong fan of Wright, and over the years he has traveled to see more than 100 homes designed by the famous architect.

"(When) the opportunity to embrace his philosophy in a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architectural style came about," Weinberg told the board, "we sort of said this (Lake Placid lot) would be the perfect low-profile, light-on-the-land organic approach that Frank Lloyd Wright advocated."

Though Weinberg wasn't formally presenting plans for the 1,800-square-foot cottage residence, the review board expressed general approval for the concept with minor questions and recommendations about details such as the indigenous Adirondack stone Weinberg plans to use.

"This is going to be re-landscaped with evergreens all over the place," Weinberg said of the property. "What we don't want is a lot of lawn. We don't want - in fact, the former owner created a pretty serious runoff situation that has been a thorn in the side of (neighbors) for years. We are going to take care of that so all of the recharge goes back into the lake."

The lot, which has 170 feet of frontage on Lake Placid, was sold by the Grimditch family, which was forced to tear down an unpermitted boathouse last year. The Grimditches got a good return out of a painful situation, in which they lost a nearly five-year legal battle. In 2010, longtime resident William H. Grimditch Jr. and his wife Carolyn built two boathouses without town permits and violated the town's stop-work order as they tried to beat then-new APA regulations for boathouses.

The legal case that followed was potentially precedent-setting as the family's lawyer argued that town zoning laws don't apply to any boathouse statewide, since the state Department of Environmental Conservation has jurisdiction on navigable bodies of water. Essex County Judge Richard Meyer ruled in the family's favor, but higher courts overturned his decision. By that time, William H. Grimditch Jr. had died in 2013 and his family had assumed responsibility for the case. They dismantled both boathouses last year. The larger one, which had three bays, was on the parcel the Weinbergs bought.

Weinberg was described as "a serial renovator" in the lead of a January 2016 article in the Wall Street Journal. He and his wife have bought and sold properties in Palm Beach and also in Italy, Washington, D.C., and his home state of New Jersey.



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