SARATOGA SPRINGS: Lake building ban passes

A three-year ban on new home construction on a two-mile stretch between Saratoga Lake and Lake Lonely has been enacted because of sewer capacity concerns.

The Saratoga Springs City Council voted 4 to 1 at the Tuesday, April 3, meeting to place a moratorium on development around Saratoga Lake to avoid the environmental risk of failed septic systems.

The moratorium prevents people from building without permission to connect to the Saratoga County Sewer District. The county system is currently operating at maximum capacity, but according to County Supervisor Cheryl Keyrouze, D-Saratoga, the county will decide on applications on a case-to-case basis.

A waiver clause allowing the application for a septic system has been added to the law since it last went before the council in February. Commissioner of Accounts John Franck asked if the change in the moratorium would require another public hearing, but city Attorney William Englert said it wasn't necessary.

What you're doing, essen-tially, is supplying a relief to the moratorium, so I don't believe a second public hearing is necessary, said Englert.

The moratorium will prevent developer Bill Tessitore from moving forward with the 50-lot Goosehill housing development.

"I'm here on behalf of Goosehill Saratoga to object to the passage of a moratorium," he said, adding that there are a great many properties in that particular area that are already on septic systems. He said the city has not provided sufficient data to show any detrimental effect of more.

"The evidence brought forth has been furnished by people who are not informed in science of septic systems," Tessitore said.

He said the city's own engineer, Paul Male, has said that the soil near the two lakes is sufficient to handle septic systems.

"In the matter of a State Environmental Quality Review, it's not a matter of the council not taking a hard look. Rather, it's a matter that you haven't taken a hard look at the adequacy or inadequacy of septic systems," Tessitore said. "I do not believe that this council has conducted any investigation at all of the environmental impact of septic systems versus sanitary sewers."

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