Posts Tagged ‘Adirondack Park Agency’

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Hamlet of Saranac Lake

apa headquarters

By Mark Wilson and Stephen Erman 

A drama of Shakespearean size is unfolding at the Adirondack Park Agency. As 2024 begins, the regulatory body finds itself wading through legal and ethical issues on a freshwater wetlands at the western edge of the Village of Saranac Lake. The wetlands flow from the base of Dewey Mountain, under the George LaPan Memorial Highway, along the high school grounds and into Ampersand Bay on Lower Saranac Lake. The entire wetlands complex lies within the designation of “hamlet” on Park Agency maps, a land-use classification covering the entire village. In agency jargon, “hamlet” applies to areas of the Adirondack Park subject to the fewest APA regulations.

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Monday, January 15, 2024

State of the State to budget

Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers her 2024 State of the State address


I was looking back at our coverage of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s State of the State speeches. During her first in 2022, she mentioned the Adirondacks in passing during her speech. In her accompanying agenda book, she made specific mentions of an Olympic Regional Development Authority venue and of managing visitors in the Adirondack forest preserve.

In 2023, there were no specific mentions of either the Adirondack or Catskill forest preserves in her agenda book, and no mentions of them in her speech. But she used the metaphor of climbing mountains in last year’s address and continued to use it this year. Before the Assembly chambers last week, Hochul made no passing mention of the Adirondacks and her agenda book included one mention of it.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

2024 legislative session

A senator and assemblyman


Lawmakers are back in Albany for a busy session before November’s elections. We have a round-up of some of the bills and other forest preserve-related business we are watching here.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is set to deliver her State of the State address [Jan. 9] in the Assembly chambers. She revealed some of her priority initiatives in press conferences over the last couple of weeks. Some of them include more state investment in swimming opportunities, establishing paid prenatal leave, addressing how literacy is taught in schools and protecting consumers from unfair business practices.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Mysterious Case Of The Disappearing Adjudicatory Hearing

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) was created by the Adirondack Park Agency Act (APA Act), which also established the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan (Development Plan) and gave the APA the responsibility for administering and enforcing the Development Plan. The APA implements its statutory responsibilities through its regulations and a series of policies. These regulations and policies establish the standards for how the APA implements the APA Act and reviews development projects in the Adirondack Park.

One part of the APA Act that has seen major changes in recent years is the strange and mysterious case of the disappearing formal adjudicatory public hearing as administered by the agency. There have been no changes the APA law, regulations, or policies, but the APA has made major changes to how it implements this part of its law, nevertheless.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2024

APA to hold Jan. 11 meeting, draft agenda released

APA logo.

Ray Brook, NY – The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, January 11, 2024. 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.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Happy New Year!

total solar eclipse

Happy New Year!

I’m celebrating my fourth year at the Adirondack Explorer. Thank you for following along, reading and contributing. I have appreciated your story ideas, thoughtful comments and corrections. You don’t always know what news is around the corner. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy this job so much. But we also have plenty of stories we continue to follow for you.

Editor Jim Odato previews some of them we know will be on our dockets this year. Check it out by clicking here.

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Thursday, December 28, 2023

Recapping year’s top stories

These battery modules, supplied by the battery company BYD

Happy holidays! I hope you are all enjoying time with family and friends and getting out for some wonderful adventures in the Adirondacks.

This will be my last newsletter of 2023. On our website, we are recapping some of the top news stories of the year. Here, I’d like to share a few links to the stories I’m most proud of this year. We appreciate your readership and look forward to providing you with news and recreation coverage in the new year!

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Saturday, December 23, 2023

First bond act funds awarded

Paradox Lake as seen from Severance Mountain.

About a year after voters authorized the state to borrow $4.2 billion for environmental projects, we received word that the first tranche of it—$200 million, or just under 5% of the total—has been awarded. None of it is going to the Adirondacks.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the water infrastructure funding from the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act along with other state water infrastructure grant programs. In those, some Adirondack communities did see promises for water and wastewater funds.

The state’s advances in online data visualization make it much easier to see where across New York funds are going. Check out our story here.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

What is whiskey fungus?

Whiskey fungus

Have you ever heard of whiskey fungus? I had not until working on this story about WhistlePig Whiskey’s storage facility in Mineville.

Check it out here.

Adirondack Park Agency

View all APA public comment and hearing opportunities at:

  • Stony Creek Community Church is applying for a three-lot subdivision to create a 0.82-acre lot improved by an existing single family dwelling, a 0.58-acre lot containing an existing cemetery, and a 0.34-acre lot improved by a pre-existing church on Harrisburg Road in the town of Stony Creek. Comments are due by Dec. 21. To view site plans and submit comments, go to
  • Applicant John Morris is seeking to build a new 3,200-square-foot building for operation of a new commercial use heating and plumbing business on Cutting Road in the town of Lewis. Comments are due by Dec. 21. To view site plans and submit comments, go to

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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Citizen Pressure Leads to Investigation of Motorized Incursions into Wilderness

The dry language of the Adirondack Park Agency – Department of Environmental Conservation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning implementation of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan belies its contentious origins.

The MOU, first signed in 2003, updated in 2010, is found on the APA website. It has many “whereas” clauses, such as “WHEREAS, the AGENCY and the DEPARTMENT agree that it is in the interest of the State of New York to fully coordinate and integrate their respective program responsibilities as they pertain to the Adirondack Park for the good of the People of the State, State government, the Adirondack local governments, residents of the Park and Park visitors.” Other “whereas” clauses are followed by: NOW, THEREFORE, the parties do hereby agree to exercise their responsibilities and authorities through the cooperative arrangements created by this Memorandum.”

Cooperative agreements to coordinate and integrate program responsibilities between APA and DEC are, in concept, a very good thing – particularly regarding the protection of the Forest Preserve.  I write to thank DEC and APA for a recent, quite successful outcome of that agreement. I’ll get to that later, but first, some history.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Funding news across the park

Route 9N

Funding opportunities and scrutiny

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $3.7 million in grant funding is available to Adirondack and Catskill park communities through the Environmental Protection Fund. The deadline to apply is 3 p.m. on Jan. 31. It is part of the Smart Growth Grants program, focused on “projects that will link environmental projection, economic development, and community livability in the forest preserve,” according to a newsletter. It’s an interesting way the governor’s office phrased that as you can’t live in the forest preserve proper.

The Adirondacks is specifically earmarked for $2.7 million, while the Catskill Park will get $1 million. The governor’s office listed eligible projects including bike-friendly routes; improving museums and theaters; improvements to downtowns; multi-use trail development; zoning updates; visitor center improvements; and adding sidewalks to hamlets and villages.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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