Will a Proposal Be Approved to Build Houses on Saratoga Lake’s Snake Hill?
Snake Hill on Saratoga Lake is one of the most recognizable landmarks. It is prominently visible from every part of the lake and features 30 acres of undeveloped land. There is a proposal that will change some of the untouched lands that is Snake Hill.
What Might be Built on Snake Hill?
The owners of the Snake Hill land, the Dake family, who run Stewart's Shops want to build four luxury homes on the property. They have already given the plans to the Town of Stillwater. Bonacio Construction would build four homes on Snake Hill that would have enormous windows on three sides of the homes to enjoy Saratoga Lake views according to the Times Union. But the Saratoga Lake Association (SLA) is hoping the Dake family will reconsider developing the area.
What is the History Surrounding Snake Hill?
Snake Hill is a 30-acre property that towers 200 feet over Saratoga Lake. It was named by primitive settlers to the lake because it had poisonous snakes that lived there. Historically, the story that is told is about Native Americans having battles on top of Snake Hill. Even though the Dake family owns the property, it is considered to be an important part of the land to the entire community.
Residents Are Being Informed From Both Sides
Chuck Marshall who represents the development shared the plan with local residents. The plan is to sell the land to Bonacio Construction. They will build and sell the homes. There was also a letter included in the proposal from the state Department of Environmental Conservation saying the development would not threaten endangered species. Marshall said of the construction:
This property has sat vacant for a long time. There are some positive attributes to bringing these houses to the lake and it's not a large subdivision. I can understand the concern in the 20 or 50 house range, but this is a small development.
Eliot Cresswell who is the President of the SLA wrote a letter to William Dake to ask him to reconsider and consider conservation instead. He wants them to sell their land to Stillwater through the Community Forest Conservation Grant program.
The goal of this grant program is to fund municipal land acquisition for community forests, which are vital for wildlife habitat, flood mitigation, recreational opportunities, mental health, air quality, water quality. Community forests are meant to build local ownership of forests, participation in forestland management, and encourage local residents to enjoy local forests and increase connection to forest benefits.
Only time will tell what the ultimate decision is. But this debate is far from over.