Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Adirondack Park Agency Issues 2011 Annual Report

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has issued its 2011 Annual Report which summarizes the year and includes links to important documents. In a prepared statement APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich said, “Facing natural disasters and their related economic hardships, the Adirondack Park community stood together in 2011 to persevere. Going forward we must build upon this momentum to ensure the protection of the Park’s natural wonders. With the same conviction, we will promote economic opportunities to sustain the 103 towns and villages which add so much to the character of this special place”

What follows are highlights lifted directly from the APA’s press release:
During 2011, the Administration Division worked to convert its computerized administrative systems to the NYS Statewide Financial Management System planned for implementation in 2012. Information Services staff initiated an upgrade to the Agency’s Master Action Database.

Regulatory Programs staff issued 339 permits and processed 170 pre-application requests. This included 48 general permits, 87 subdivision permits, 13 commercial use permits and 12 telecommunication permits.

Planning staff provided technical assistance to the towns of Essex, Crown Point and Bellmont on local planning, zoning and mapping initiatives. Staff digitized sewer system infrastructure and district boundaries to help Crown Point identify possible Hamlet expansion areas. Staff also developed a webpage to assist municipalities with the map amendment process.

Local Government Services staff responded to 625 inquiries from local officials on land use issues and participated in nineteen meetings with town officials providing information on Agency jurisdiction and land use law. In addition, staff reviewed 84 variances from towns with approved local land use programs.

State land staff, in consultation with DEC, revised the State Land Master Plan Area Descriptions, delineations and statistics. The revisions reflect significant State land classification changes incorporated as a result of the 2005 and 2009 classification and reclassification actions.

Resource Analysis and Scientific Services staff completed 240 wetland delineations, advised on 72 wetland jurisdictional determinations and evaluated 97 deep-hole test pits. Staff conducted four wetland training programs for town officials and the general public.

The Legal Division worked to streamline procedures for variances and minor projects. Staff implemented a revised variance hearing process to reduce the burden on applicants while still ensuring a thorough review. New forms and procedures to improve the flow of minor project proposals from the jurisdictional office into permit review were tested in 2011. The Legislature passed and the Governor signed the Agency’s proposed community housing incentive. The Legal Division was also successful in defending new Agency regulatory provisions that address non-conforming shoreline structures and wetland subdivision jurisdiction.

The Jurisdictional Inquiry Office wrote 732 jurisdictional determinations, (508 non-jurisdictional and 124 jurisdictional) handled 435 referrals from other agencies and answered nearly 3,677 general inquiry phone calls. The average response time for jurisdictional determinations was 24 days. In addition, staff processed 186 Freedom of Information requests.

Enforcement staff opened 305 cases and successfully closed 409 cases, including 198 signed settlement agreements and 149 cases closed with no violations. In 2011, 281 site visits were conducted, which represents a 25% increase over 2010.

The Agency’s annual report is available online [pdf].

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