Monday, February 11, 2019

Saranac inn revival snags cause owner to pack it in

UPDATE (2/11/19): The renovation project for the historic Dew Drop Inn apparently is over, and not in a positive way. Co-owner Calli Shelton has announced that "I'm walking away from project. This was one delay too may. I lost my contractor." Her latest problem involved village government withholding a needed approval. (See below.) “To our many supporters, thank you,” Shelton posted on Facebook. “To the few detractors, you won. Hope you enjoy looking at the shell of the building for the next 50 years.”

(Originally published 2/2/19 under the headline 'Saranac inn revival project hits an offbeat roadblock')

SARANAC LAKE-- I reported last month on the renovation project aimed at resuscitating the iconic Dew Drop Inn in this Adirondacks village. At the time, hopes were high for owners Calli Shelton and Randy Colesto to resume work in January and complete the project by late this year or early 2020. However, someone has thrown a wrench into the works, and outsiders might be excused for thinking something else may be afoot.

The project has come to a screeching halt because the village will not issue a renewed building permit until concerns about land ownership are resolved.

The village raised concerns about the portion of the former restaurant that overhangs the Saranac River -- and has done so for almost 70 years. Until this week, the first floor of this overhang was planned to become a patio space and an additional phase of the village River Walk.

“The State of New York owns the underlying land/water. It cannot be ‘grandfathered’ as no one can ‘grandfather’ the state or take adverse possession against it,” according to Mayor Clyde Rabideau, who adds that the owners need "a permit from the state in order to get a full permit from the village as we cannot give her a building permit upon lands she does not own.” 

For her part, Shelton said the overhang is a non-issue, noting that she and her attorney point to the overhanging parts of the building having been there for so long they are grandfathered into restrictions against building over the water.

She said this is much like Left Bank Cafe’s overhanging porches across the street. It will be interesting to see how this plays out since the building's previous owners never had this problem.

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