Posts Tagged ‘Adirondack Park Agency’

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 AgencyMeeting.PublicComment@apa.ny.gov. 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.


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A Material Increase and Burdens on the Forest Preserve

How the Adirondack Park Agency interprets its own State Land Master Plan with respect to public motorized uses of roads on the Forest Preserve (Wild Forest guideline, “No Material Increase”) has been in the news since last spring and deservedly so. In contrast with more intensively developed park facilities elsewhere, the Adirondack and Catskill  Forest Preserve are “forever wild,” written into our state’s constitution.

The public’s general expectations on the Forest Preserve today is much as it always has been, to seek, find and experience peace, tranquility, awesome scenery, quiet, solitude, bird song, bees humming, red squirrels chattering, a sense of the primitive. The overall expectation is not to hear motors idling or accelerating. That is the contrast value of the Forest Preserve. No other state can boast of it. No other state has a Forest Preserve in their state constitution, kept, mostly,  primitive and quiet, most of it within 3 miles of a paved road or highway. 20th and 21st century voters seem to like it that way.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Wild forest roads policy up for public comments

APA logo.

Ray Brook, NY – The Adirondack Park Agency Board, at its March 16, 2023 meeting, authorized a 30-day public comment period to solicit input to help inform the Board’s interpretation of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan’s Wild Forest Basic Guideline No. 4, including a new No Material Increase Alternative #4.

The Agency will accept public comment through close of business on April 17, 2023. All public comments will be shared with the Department of Environmental Conservation, who the Agency works in consultation with on Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan implementation.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Big solar, plus APA court decisions

Solar panels

I sifted through the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting’s regulations and talked to some state and nonprofit sources about large-scale solar projects and the permitting process. Some of you have had questions about solar capacity factors and decommissioning, among other things, in my time covering these solar facility permits. We try to answer some of them for you here.

The Adirondack Park Agency lost two separate court decisions —one involving a marina permit on Lower Saranac Lake and another involving an herbicide permit on Lake George. The Court of Appeals case involving a private marina was the first to come out, and in an unanimous opinion judges criticized how the APA has been applying its wetlands regulations. We learned Judge Robert Muller, of the state Supreme Court in Warren County, issued a decision on a Lake George herbicide permit suit that scolded APA for being “one-sided” in its application review and said the agency should have held an adjudicatory hearing. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

APA to hold monthly meeting March 16

APA logo

APA Honors Women’s History Month with “Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks” Historical Presentation and Fine Arts Exhibit 

Ray Brook, NY – The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, March 16, 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 AgencyMeeting.PublicComment@apa.ny.gov.

» Continue Reading.



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