Admission to Experience Outdoors on National Route 73 near Lake Placid (Corporate Photo – Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID – Owners of Experience Outdoors, a zipline and team building course on Cascade Road, are asking permission to host live music events at night. The neighbors are not happy.

The owners of Experience Outdoors, Marc Doering and Bill Walton, applied to the Village-City Joint Review Panel for permission to hold special events three days a month, from May to October. They expect events to last until 10 p.m. At least one of these events may include use of the company’s tree climbing course, so Doering and Walton have also requested permission to extend the company’s hours of operation from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. during special events.

As of Thursday, the review board had received 13 letters from neighbors about Doering and Walton’s request, almost all of them asking the board to dismiss it. In a public hearing on the request on Wednesday, six neighbors complained about the current state of the business and asked that the request be denied. The majority of complaints from neighbors were either related to noise pollution or what they considered to be violations of the existing code.

Miriam Hadden, a lawyer who lives nearby, compared Experience Outdoors to a theme park and said it was a “constant annoyance” over the years. Screams and noise of ATVs on the property can be heard from his house “on a daily basis,” she said.

“My husband and I moved to North Elba and chose to buy a house in the rural zoned district of North Elba about seven years ago because we wanted to live and raise our children in a peaceful and natural environment at a reasonable driving distance from the community. , where we could enjoy a more urban culture whenever we wanted ”, she said. “We have specifically chosen not to reside nearer or in the village of Lake Placid in order to avoid noise pollution from the environment of the village.”

In response, Doering said he wanted to work with neighbors.

“We are not here to make your life difficult and keep you awake all the time” he said at the review committee meeting on Wednesday. “We want to work with you and we are doing our best. If someone is going down the zipline and screaming, we can’t control that.

Doering has proposed reducing the number of nights the company will host live music to two or once a month. He also said he would be willing to host music only on weekends, if neighbors preferred.

“Very few of you have ever come to us and asked, ‘Hey, can you please stay calm? “You didn’t do it, so we don’t know”, he said. “We cannot read your mind.”

Review board chair Rick Thompson suggested that the board discuss the company’s application and consider it at the next review board meeting. In the end, that’s what happened. The next review committee meeting will be July 21.

Noise complaints

Hadden, both in person on Wednesday and in a letter submitted to the review board, said that in recent years there had been “many times” when Experience Outdoors hosted special onsite events that involved live music late into the night.

“The music was so loud it kept my family, including my two very young children, up late at night, hours after our usual bedtime.” Hadden said Wednesday. “It was extremely frustrating.

“I know from these experiences that allowing Experience Outdoors to expand its operations as proposed will significantly disrupt our lives and those of our neighbors.” she added.

Doering said past events got city approval.

David Gomlak, owner of TMax-n-Topos hostel down the street, said he even heard live music from Experience Outdoors at night. Gomlak said he was concerned about the impact on neighbors.

Gomlak added that he had received requests for his hostel to organize weddings. He wondered if the Experience Outdoors app would set a precedent.

“Would we be allowed to organize nightly events and weddings? “ he said.

Code violations?

In letters to the council, several neighbors alleged that Experience Outdoors had already violated the local land use code.

A neighbor, David Hunter, alleged that business owners cut more trees and vegetation on their property than their Adirondack Park Agency permit allowed, and in places they were not. allowed to cut. Charles “Chip” Madden, who sold the Experience Outdoors property to its current owners, wrote the same in their letter to the board.

Doering denied this on Wednesday.

Hunter also wrote that the business ran later than expected. He said the neighbors complained to the APA.

Madden wrote that he was “Assured that the land would be used to help children at risk and not be a commercial operation.” “

“My reading of the APA codes assured me that the virgin land and the neighborhood would be protected and little affected”, he wrote. “Quite the opposite has happened.

“Noise levels should not be higher than those of road traffic” he added. “This once quiet neighborhood now sounds like a big music festival.”

In his letter, Madden apologized to his neighbors “How badly it went” and for the way the land is used.

“I don’t believe that’s what beautiful Adirondack Park is,” he wrote.

Hadden said she believed the company’s request, if approved, would violate several provisions of the Land Use Code – even if the company fell under the “Recreational open space” conditional use, to which the company was granted in 2017. She underlined a section of the definition of this conditional use, “Non-intrusive structures and uses”, like something that set her apart from this company.

“Nothing in this definition suggests activities involving amplified / live music, or the noise of screaming and ATVs all day and night, that the neighbors of Experience Outdoors had to tolerate.” she said.

Hadden also expressed concern about alcohol consumption during these special events, and said the zipline was already “an inherently dangerous activity to begin with, and possibly fatal when combined with alcohol.”

Hadden also asked if the review panel could render its opinion impartial because two of its members, Experience Outdoors co-owner Bill Walton and Bob Rafferty, had recused themselves from making a decision on the request.

She also pointed out that the company is already promoting itself as a wedding venue on its website.

Hadden said Deoring and Walton’s claim is one that “Will affect neighboring residents by decreasing both the value of the property and their ability to enjoy their property.” “ She asked the jury to reject the request.

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