Posts Tagged ‘Adirondack Park Agency’

Monday, November 20, 2023

Groups call for forest preserve funding

Potash Mountain in Lake Luzerne.

A widening number of organizations are banding together for funding requests for the Adirondack and Catskill Parks forest preserve. In a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul, 41 groups called for a $10 million allocation for forest preserve stewardship in the 2024-2025 state budget’s Environmental Protection Fund. Last year’s budget allocated $8 million.

The groups also call for additional investment in affordable housing and cellular and broadband infrastructure. They also hope Hochul will maintain funding for forest preserve visitor centers, support additional research and monitoring programs, develop an accessibility policy for state lands, clear a backlog of conserved land under agreement for public acquisition and add additional staff supporting forest preserve-related state agencies.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

New law protects against invasive species

A person holds invasive Asian clams

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed bipartisan legislation last month that allows town boards to stop the spread of invasive aquatic invertebrate species, such as Zebra mussels and Asian clams, instead of just aquatic invasive plants.

The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury and state Assemblymember Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake.

Stec said the law gives communities more flexibility to address invasive species. Woerner said invasive aquatic species harms the environment, health and recreational economy. Both lawmakers were grateful to Hochul for signing the legislation.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, November 13, 2023

$3.7 Million Available for Smart Growth Grants for Adirondack and Catskill Park Communities

dec logoGovernor Kathy Hochul announced that $3.7 million in Smart Growth Grants is available for communities and not-for-profit organizations in the Adirondack and Catskill parks. DEC, in partnership with the Department of State and the Adirondack Park Agency, is soliciting applications for projects that will link environmental protection, economic development, and community livability in the Forest Preserve. The focus for this round of Smart Growth Grants is affordable housing, a key component for addressing population and economic stability in these rural areas.

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Local leaders voice support for proposed APA move

apa headquarters

More than 60 local leaders, many of whom are from Saranac Lake, sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul last week supporting the Adirondack Park Agency’s proposed move to the village. They highlighted benefits of relocating the agency’s headquarters including revitalizing the downtown, reusing and renovating an existing building, partnering with the village on a geothermal energy project, revitalizing an historic building, adding parking to the village and making the agency more accessible to the public.

The state allocated about $29 million for the agency’s headquarters. APA Executive Director Barbara Rice has spearheaded the proposed move, receiving backlash from current and former APA staff, who want the agency to remain in Ray Brook. The APA is conducting a feasibility study on moving to Saranac Lake, but it is not conducting a similar study of its existing headquarters.

The letter states that the proposal to renovate an existing building will “have fewer environmental impacts than constructing a new one,” but fails to mention that the APA would erect a second building into the hillside behind the former Paul Smith’s Power and Light building on Main Street.

Some of the signers include Saranac Lake Mayor Jimmy Williams, former Mayor Clyde Rabideau, Executive Director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage Erin Tobin and a number of Saranac Lake business owners.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Commentary on APA’s proposed headquarters move

apa headquarters

By James Connolly

The Adirondack Park Agency was established to be a regional land-use agency for the 6-million acres within the Adirondack Park. Just as important were environmental protections for wetlands and administration of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. From the very beginning of the Park Agency, it was appropriate for the headquarters to be located in Ray Brook next to its sister agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation. The two agencies, working together, administer many overlapping and complimentary regulations. Areas where the two agencies overlap and require consultation and coordination include APA classification of newly acquired State land, mining and mine land reclamation projects, wetlands regulations, shoreline stabilization projects, pesticide use & control of aquatic vegetation and regulation of Wild, Scenic & Recreational River corridors within the Park.

It has therefore always been assumed that APA & DEC were ideally located in Ray Brook. That is, until now. The Agency’s current Executive Director, Barbara Rice, has promoted the concept of a Village location as being “transformational”. At best, the amount of State money involved would provide limited benefit to the Village and a great deal of funding for the contractors and other construction-related activities. Her past role as a Village Trustee and local business owner may have led her to believe in overstating the case for a Village location, however, it also raises potential conflict of interest concerns given the lack of transparency in limiting analysis to only two locations. Isn’t it about time that the State Ethics Committee weighed-in with an opinion?

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Open Letter to the Governor Concerning the Relocation of the APA

APA Building in Ray Brook NY

Dear Governor Hochul, 

The undersigned former Board members and former employees of the Adirondack Park Agency  are writing to express our opposition to the proposed relocation of the Agency’s headquarters to  a new location in the Village of Saranac Lake. Our reasons for taking this position are detailed  below.  

The Park Agency is a regional agency which regulates land use and development throughout the  Adirondack Park. It makes little sense to us for the Agency to choose a new location in one  community without any outreach to other potentially interested communities and a careful  consideration of alternatives.  

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Event to focus on APA’s future

APA logo.

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the Adirondack Park Agency, and it’s fair to ask:   “Where Do We Go From Here?”

 Join the debate: Thursday, July 27, at 7 pm at the Adirondack History Center Museum, Elizabethtown.

Leaders of the APA and the Local Government Review Board will be on hand to discuss the APA’s first half century and what’s likely to come next.

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Discussion time: APA headquarters

apa headquartersAs Gwen Craig reported for Adirondack Explorer this past week:

Unless a feasibility study shows the historic Paul Smith’s Power and Light Building may fall apart or some other insurmountable issue, the Adirondack Park Agency is full steam ahead to move its headquarters from Ray Brook to the village of Saranac Lake.

APA Executive Director Barbara Rice said the 1-3 Main St. building is the agency’s “preferred site.” She ruled out further site searches or renovating the existing office building.

Read the full story here and then weigh in below. What do you think of the plan to move APA headquarters? Should the agency stay in Ray Brook?

Image at top:A rendering shows the Paul Smith’s Power and Light Building at 1-3 Main St. in the village of Saranac Lake as the Adirondack Park Agency’s new headquarters. The agency would build a 19,000-square-foot addition behind it and a new parking lot. Rendering provided by the Adirondack Park Agency

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Marina back before APA

Lower Saranac Lake. Explorer file photo

It didn’t take long for planned upgrades to the Saranac Lake Marina on Lower Saranac Lake to make their way back to the Adirondack Park Agency board for approval.

After the Appellate Division in March annulled an earlier wetlands permit the APA granted the marina in 2020, the marina team reworked its plan and returned to the agency.

This time, APA staff said no permit was needed and has moved forward with a variance to enable the marina to cover floating docks it installed last year at the site operated as a commercial marina since 1924. That variance to the APA’s shoreline restrictions is set to go before the agency board on Thursday (today).

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Did the APA Learn a Lesson?

Members and staff of the Adirondack Park Agency sit around a table listening to a presentation during the March 16 meeting in Ray Brook. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig

Did the APA learn a lesson in May? Apparently so, though only one person around the APA’s table would say so in public.  That admission came from the non-voting representative of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, Jerry Delaney. “We’ve had a lesson in how important the people take their opportunities for public comment,” Mr. Delaney said. I am glad he said it because I suspect most were thinking it.

The senior APA staff, hit with hundreds of negative comments from diverse directions since March, including from some of its own members and from groups like mine (Adirondack Wild) and the Review Board, caved in May on their intention in March to ram through restrictions on public comment opportunities and subjecting future Agency policy and guidance documents to rapid decisions during a single meeting.

I was glad the staff caved. Act in haste, regret at leisure. It was certainly audacious of the senior staff to think over the winter that cutting down on public comment opportunities and on the time for consideration for changes to APA policy and guidance documents would not be noticed and needed no notice.  The question is, why did they propose such changes to begin with?

» Continue Reading.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Ray Brook: APA to hold monthly meeting on May 11

APA logo.

Ray Brook, NY – The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 11, 2023. The meeting will be held at the Agency’s headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The public is welcome to attend in person or remotely.

Public comment will be available to members of the public who attend the Agency meeting in person as well as those who participate remotely. If you would like the opportunity to make a public comment remotely, please email your name and the phone number used to call into the Board Meeting to Those who sign up for public comment will be limited to three minutes each. Public comment will not be accepted on any agenda items that are before the Board.

On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Full Agency will convene for Executive Director Barbara Rice’s monthly report, public comment, and other procedural actions.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Another Test of the APA’s Large Subdivision Review

Concerning a proposal for about 120 units of townhouses, “estate” homes, a hotel or clubhouse, associated several miles of roadways, parking lots, driveways, and trails on 385 mostly wooded acres in Jay near Ausable Forks, the applicant has just submitted new information to the APA.

The APA issued their second additional information request of Mr. Stackman last September, 2022. This month Mr. Stackman writes that he has been working diligently to respond. You can find it all on the Agency website. For this post, I’ll focus on just one aspect of that response to the APA’s second request for additional information: biological surveys.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

APA could have new headquarters

The Adirondack Park Agency is studying the feasibility of moving its headquarters to the historic Paul Smith’s Power and Light building at 3 Main St. in Saranac Lake. Photo by Chloe Bennett

The Adirondack Park Agency could be moving four miles up the road to Saranac Lake. The APA and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said a feasibility study is underway to move the agency’s headquarters to the historic Paul Smith’s Power and Light building on Main Street.

The village police currently occupy that building, but there are discussions of creating a public safety complex on Petrova Avenue. The APA has $29 million from the state’s 2022 budget for a new headquarters, but whether it’s brand new or renovated, we’ll have to see (read more here).

For those of you on Twitter, an account called, “DoesNYHaveABudget” tweets a budget status daily, and today’s is “No.” Hochul and lawmakers authorized a second budget extender bill today, meaning negotiations could continue to next Monday.

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Wild Forest Roads Decision Calls For Common Sense, Not Arbitrary Number

roads in wild forest

By Gerald Delaney, Executive Director
Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board

Adirondack Park Agency Commissioners are currently faced with a particularly thorny question:

What did their predecessors mean in 1972 when they created a “guideline” in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP) that says: 

“… there will not be any material increase in the mileage
of roads and snowmobile trails open to motorized use by
the public in wild forest areas that conformed to the master
plan at the time of its original adoption in 1972.”

Did they mean no increase in road mileage after 1972? Are 100 more miles allowable or only 10?  What if the number of wild forest acres increased after 1972?

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

One-house budget proposals fund Adks, plus APA March meeting highlights

Members and staff of the Adirondack Park Agency sit around a table listening to a presentation during the March 16 meeting in Ray Brook. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig

April 1 is around the corner, which is when the state budget is due. One-house budget bills have been released, and it looks like both the state Assembly and Senate would like carve-outs in the Environmental Protection Fund for specific Adirondack and Catskill parks projects. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget had suggested Adirondack-specific allocations would still be in the proposed $400 million EPF, but the line items for them were deleted. Legislators want them back.

Of note, both budget proposals appropriate $10 million under the EPF’s State Land Stewardship funding for the Catskill and Adirondack forest preserves. Many groups were pleased with this, from the Adirondack Mountain Club, to the Adirondack Lakes Alliance, to local government officials.

The Assembly’s budget included a boost to the EPF, from Hochul’s proposed $400 million to $435 million. It boosted clean water infrastructure funds from $500 million to $600 million. The Assembly would like a carve-out of $25 million in water funds for addressing harmful algal blooms, something that was not in the executive budget proposal.

» Continue Reading.

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox