Saranac Lake Board Rejects Site for Potential Music Venue

The Village of Saranac Lake Board of Trustees have turned down a requested zoning change that would have turned a field adjacent to a decommissioned landfill into a multi-use music venue, event space and athletic field.

The property, located on Moose Way and seen on the map below at right, is owned by Bob Farmer, who envisioned taking his property, as well as the former landfill – for which the village has a $435,000 grant to convert into athletic fields – and turn the field into Mountain View Performing Arts Field. These plans are now on hold as Farmer weighs his options.

At a village meeting on Monday, October 9, and as reported by Adirondack Daily Enterprise, locals and neighbors of Farmer’s property showed up to voice concerns that this change in zoning would lead to increased traffic, noise, and littering in the small Adirondack town.

This was not the first time Farmer has been turned down by a local board for use of the land for concerts, music and events. The town of North Elba rejected the proposal as it may set precedent for commercial use within a residential area.

With Farmer’s property located in North Elba, and not Saranac Lake, the village board rejected the proposal on this technicality, saying it would need to be annexed before consideration, but based upon concerns of locals, it seems the two best avenues for Farmer have dried up. Resident of Saranac Lake Jacquelyn Dubee said “I feel that it is unfair for the community members to be forced to take a say on what we’re going to be using that land for when we don’t want it to be used for anything,”

The Village of Saranac Lake

One resident, Shannon Madden, started a petition opposing the plan, which she said has 200 signatures so far. With the potential crowd capacity likely to be 3,000, Madden considered this potential venue leading to a “full town invasion.” For those unfamiliar – route 73 that brings most traffic in from I-87 and points east, is a two lane road, with no room for development to expand. The traffic heading into Saranac Lake is already intentionally slowed down as you approach the village center, making the potential for another 500-1000 cars enough to bring the village to a stand still, with no other roads in the area making this feasible.

Christine Collins, a Saranac Lake native and resident of Potsdam has been attached to be venue manager at the Mountain View Performing Arts Field. She pointed to playing it safe as the factor that is holding the town back. “This is about this village and its desperate need for change, culture, diversity and enrichment. While I respect the past, we must let go of antiquated thinking and begin to move forward.

While Farmer and Collins may have exhausted their options, the pair will press ahead and explore alternatives to bringing this site to fruition.

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