Goodnow Flow waterfront cabins, Newcomb NY 12852
Goodnow Flow real estate is oriented towards the camp and cabin market. Virtually all properties have some waterfront and direct access to the private man-made lake. The lake association has 226 members, there were over 300 Lots in the original subdivision but some have been combined. There is a mix of ‘residential’ construction types at the Flow and there are still empty lots that haven’t had any construction. The lake development started as a hunting and fishing club in the 1950s most everyone still has an outhouse though not so many are used. My 1950s cabin is coming to the end of its life – the rebuild is likely to be rated as a second home to comply with current code though I see someone recently installed a simple cabin on piers. Empty single width lots are selling for maybe $80-100,000 but the cost of an ‘improved’ property is going to depend on what has been built, along with all those other details like a well for water and a septic system.
A virtual water-tour of the Goodnow Flow in the NY Adirondack Park
You can get the best view of the Flow from the water. Take this virtual tour if you are interested in lake property but don’t have anyone to transport you around this private lake. From maps, I figure the Flow is about 2.5 miles long, though the journey is longer if one hugs the shoreline. Hover your mouse over the black buttons of the map to see a time stamp. The trip starts by ‘fishing rock’ focused on the North-side of the lake and then heads counterclockwise to the inlet of the main Goodnow river where there is a distinctive ‘Ginger Bread cottage’. Sometime around 7 minutes, you are as west as the boat went. The west branch of the Goodnow feeds into the lake via Shadow Dam and a marshy area that has no construction. Then the camera is focused on the south side. At just after 13 minutes through to almost 15 minutes, you are in Beaver bay. This area was developed later than most of the Flow. I think the APA rules for setbacks were in force so it looks more natural. I put a marker at about 28.5 minutes where I recognized a property (Lot 47). At thirty-five minutes you are at the dam and start coming back up the North-side. You pass by my property at the start of Woodys, up from the noticeboard, just before 46 minutes. There are a couple of islands in the lake that you can visit, the boat is coming up on one at 43.5 minutes. The video was shot by lot-owner David Dorey from his Pontoon boat.
Adirondack waterfront property in Newcomb’s Goodnow Flow: Affordable & good travel time.
The positives for the Flow include relative affordability (this improves north of Glens Falls in my lake-side shopping experience) and the drive time from Albany and the NY Capital District is reasonable at a bit over two hours. There is a big contingent of owners based around the start of the Northway (I 87), looking at the club membership list and also representation from down the Thruway towards the City. The last owners of my plot were CT-based which is a longer trip than I would want to undertake regularly, but there are others based there and in New Jersey. There are snowbirds who over-winter in Florida and the Carolinas and I think they were originally NY based before retirement. There are some owners who live in the western parts of NY and others from Vermont. I ran locations through a maps travel time estimator to make the bullseye graphic. This gives a rough estimate of travel times from multiple, I don’t vouch for overall accuracy but from experience, I know Albany is two hours plus from Newcomb and the Goodnow Flow!
Honestly, I don’t think the Flow is the best piece of ADK lakeside real estate. The lake is kind of shallow and some of the construction is obnoxious because the community was founded before the Adirondack Park Authority established setback rules. But you can take the virtual water tour and make your own judgment on that. The Flow provides a base to explore the new State lands of the Finch-Pruyn purchase, the rules for accessing those lands in summer and winter are still being developed. One positive is that the dam and spillway that maintain the lake were recently rehabbed to current standards – they should be good for 50 years or so.
I have a blog post on Goodnow Flow camp sales from mid 2017 to the Thanksgiving 2020, with sales prices and tax-roll valuations. There is a second post on 2021 Goodnow Flow listings and sales that links to a spreadsheet. I intend to make another for 2022.
Check out the accommodation section at the bottom of services if you are looking at properties and its long journey, or if you want to try out the area before committing to buy. There is no rental culture at the Flow itself because the association bylaws prevent visitors from using the community-owned lake and the leased lands unless accompanied by a club member.
One extra benefit of the Newcomb location: there will be a 2.5-minute total eclipse of the sun on 4/8/24, unfortunately, April is a cloudy month and there could be a foot of snow as ice on my driveway.
Newcomb taxes & Goodnow fees
You can check the tax rates for any property in the online rolls. The tax rates are quite low but the assigned valuations were significantly higher than the prices that properties fetch at sale – until the price blip in 2021. Don’t use tax valuations as a guide for property value when shopping Flow Lots and don’t expect your tax valuation to come down to your lower purchase price next year. The mandatory Association fee is $1200/lot for 2022, you need to ask if a multiple lot package has been permanently fused in the deeds or not – that affects whether you will have one association fee or multiple in a year or so. Something else to ask about are any outstanding Association obligations: those don’t go away with a sale! Those membership dollars go to the bank loan used for the essential 2015 dam rebuild and to leasing lands used for recreation. I would hold off paying for full Association membership (a one time fee). If you buy a Lot, stick with non-voting membership for a while – until you understand if voting-rights have any value for you.
Real estate listings for Goodnow lakeside properties, Newcomb NY 12852
You can search Zillow for Newcomb or NY 12852 zip code but probably not for just the Flow. Results will include waterfront listings for Lake Harris as well as the Flow. Lake Harris has public access in contrast to the Goodnow Flow which is private. You can look at recent sales. I counted 14 over 3 seasons, with 5 current listings when I checked Zillow in July 2020, and I think they missed a few sales. Looking back from 2021, four or five property sales a year seems to be typical (I’m probably passing over land sales).
Generally, if you are shopping for a property around the Flow then I recommend using a local realtor such as Judy Morris – they can identify local issues (there are several properties that have major arrears for lake association fees) plus big chunks of the Flow are largely in a cellular dead-zone due to hills so rendezvous with the realtor can get complicated. Newcomb does have cell service on the Verizon and AT&T networks.
Viewing and shopping for Goodnow Flow properties
The Goodnow Flow is private property and so are many of the dirt roads. Public use of dirt roads is limited to access of the State lands via the Woodys and Cornell roads, so don’t just cruise around the Flow looking for ‘For Sale’ signs. Use a realtor or schedule a visit with a specific seller.
Plots & construction at the Goodnow Flow, Newcomb NY
Lots are generally a bit over 100ft at the waterfront and run back to the perimeter road. Check out a separate post about the lake.
The Lots around the Flow were laid out by a prior owner of my cabin in the 1950s. The standard unit is something like a 100+ft lakefront width but affected by local topography. Most lots run back to the lake perimeter road and that distance affects lot acreage. This is called a piano-key layout – now not the most environmentally friendly development style – but one that gives every owner a chunk of lake-front. Many adjacent lots have been combined and are double width for that reason.
The land use and building regs are set by Newcomb within the framework mandated by the Adirondack Park Authority (APA). The Newcomb town code can be accessed online in the town web-site, but I’d suggest you talk to the Newcomb code enforcement office for additional guidance. My cabin predates APA controls and is 25ft from the water – I could do a rebuild on that footprint but otherwise, the current rules say I would need to build further back. There seem to be at least two kinds of zoning, rural and moderate intensity, with distinct setbacks (50 & 75ft). There is no town water and no town sewer lines at the lake. NY DOH rules appear to specify septic leach-fields must be set back at least 100ft from the lake and from any streams. A few of the Lots will have difficulty complying with the requirements if the owners are required to install a new septic system (one new cabin is installing a pumped holding tank).
Its a good idea to look at the APA land-use guide because there are also regulations for things like tree cutting close to the water.