John Ernst has been chair of the Adirondack Park Agency for over a year now. I sat down with him and his wife Margot over the summer to see how his new role was going. We also talked about his deep family connection to the Adirondacks, which is how I learned that Ernst’s grandfather, a magician and the attorney for escape artist Harry Houdini, started the multi-generation treks to Elk Lake from New York City.
Posts Tagged ‘APA’
The Adirondack Park Agency has received criticism for what some say is its lack of transparency regarding the release of old memos about questions staff have posed to commissioners that would interpret a cap on roads in wild forest areas. Commissioners made no determinations at the APA meeting last week, but staff hinted they could be looking for decisions, soon.
Here’s a reminder, quoted from APA Deputy Director of Planning Megan Phillips’s presentation, on the questions:
The Adirondack Park Agency is accepting public comment on projects currently under review. The public is encouraged to go to the Agency’s website found at www.apa.ny.gov and click the Public Comment and Hearing Opportunities link found in the News & Activities information box.
The link will direct the public to the Requests for Public Comment page where more information is located. In addition, the public will find an option to electronically submit a comment for the posted projects.
Presently, the Agency is accepting comments on the following proposed projects:
– New commercial sand and gravel mine in the Town of Elizabethtown, Essex County
– Shoreline variance request for the construction of a single-family dwelling in the Town of Ticonderoga, Essex County
– Three-lot subdivision in the Town of Tupper Lake, Franklin County
– Construction of a new 85-foot-tall telecommunications tower in the Town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County
– Demolition of existing mining equipment and structures at the former Republic Steel Mineville #7 complex in the Town of Moriah, Essex County
– Reconstruction of an existing 46kV electric transmission line in the Towns of Long Lake, Arietta and Long Lake, Hamilton County
– Replacement and expansion of an existing on-site wastewater treatment system within 100 feet of wetlands in the Town of Webb, Herkimer County
– Installation of temporary telecommunication infrastructure in the Town of North Hudson, Essex County
– Installation of new utility pole in the Town of Ticonderoga, Essex County
– Four-lot subdivision in the Town of Parishville, St. Lawrence County
– Replacement and realignment of NYS Route 28 bridge crossing south inlet of Raquette in the Town of Arietta, Hamilton County
The mission of the Adirondack Park Agency is to protect the public and private resources of the Adirondack Park through the exercise of the powers and duties of the Agency as provided by law.
Photo at top: Cell towers on Prospect Mountain. Almanack file photo
The Adirondack Park Agency will not be meeting this week, “due to no agenda items that require board action,” according to its website. I do have some update to share with you about how the APA is running its public comments and hearings page.
Upon glancing at the APA’s website this morning, I do see that the agency will be holding a virtual training for commissioners on shoreline setbacks, which the public is invited to watch on WebEx. Got to the APA’s homepage for more info: https://apa.ny.gov/.
Last week the Adirondack Park Agency approved a 20-megawatt solar project on the former Benson Mines’s tailings pile in the Town of Clifton. It is the state’s first “build ready” solar project. There are still a handful of other permits the state needs to acquire before it can hold an auction and turn the project over to a solar developer. But, it looks like the Adirondacks is one step closer to hosting a large renewable energy project.
I just skimmed through Eric Stackman’s recent replies to the Adirondack Park Agency. See the APA website, apa.ny.gov, large-scale subdivisions. Mr. Stackman, a Miami, Florida developer, wants to construct a 120-lot resort subdivision in Jay, Essex County, above the East Branch of the Ausable River, apparently within sightlines near Whiteface Mountain, Asgaard Farm and many other viewing locations
In April of last year, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s first “build-ready” solar project to be hosted on the old tailings pile of Benson Mines in the Town of Clifton. Well, we’re seeing this 20-megawatt facility again, with plans for more than 62,000 panels, this time with confirmation that the Adirondack Park Agency must weigh in on its approval. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has applied for permits including for a large, public utility, and APA commissioners will decide whether to sign off at their board meeting on Thursday. (Editor’s note: The project was approved. See story here.)
Reporter Megan Plete Postol reported on a recent judicial proceeding in Oneida County Supreme Court brought by Adirondack White Lake Association. The lawsuit was brought by neighbors of Red Rock Quarry, a proposed new granite quarry to be located very close to White Lake in Forestport.
The legal challenge was filed this spring because the Adirondack Park Agency in Ray Brook failed to conduct an adjudicatory public hearing that could have, through sworn expert testimony and cross examination, uncovered facts about noise, ground, surface water and other information needed for the APA to render a determination of no undue adverse impact “upon the natural, scenic, aesthetic, ecological, wildlife, historic, recreational or open space resources of the park.”
No hearing about the granite quarry was held by the APA which, after staff review, issued the proposed granite quarry a permit to operate earlier this year.
I know I previewed this in my last newsletter, but in case you didn’t get a chance to read it, here is my roundup of the four Adirondack Park constitutional amendments that didn’t get first passage this legislative session. The conservation design bill, legislation intended to protect more open space and natural resources when planning for some subdivisions, passed the Assembly but not the Senate. Also of note, a bill that brings forest rangers and environmental conservation officers’ retirements up to the same standards as State Police passed both chambers. We’ll see if Gov. Kathy Hochul signs it this time.
As part of the ongoing public comment period regarding the interpretation of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan’s Wild Forest Basic Guideline No. 4 – no material increase of road mileage on lands classified as Wild Forest, the Adirondack Park Agency in coordination with the Department of Environmental Conservation, will hold a virtual public informational meeting and an in person meeting.
The virtual public meeting will be held on June 2, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. To access the virtual meeting the public is asked to please pre-register using the following link – tinyurl.com/APA-NMI-info. To dial in to meeting please call 518-549-0500 and use Access Code: 2347 466 3096. For those who would like to make an oral comment please email your name and phone number you will be calling in from to: email@example.com
Fifty-one years ago (1971) the newly created Adirondack Park Agency was granted the authority to draft, revise, and interpret the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, or APSLMP. That plan was signed by the Governor in 1972 and revised by many Governors since. The NYS courts have found that the APSLMP has the force and effect of law.
No Material Increase: This past week, the APA sent the public notice that we have 60 days to comment in order to “inform the APA Board’s interpretation of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan’s Wild Forest Basic Guideline No. 4 – no material increase of road mileage on lands classified as Wild Forest.” The rest of APA’s press release consists of seemingly arcane questions and alternatives that presumes public awareness and understanding of the past and how it relates today.
The Adirondack Park Agency is meeting in person this week for the first time since last summer. The two-day meeting will start at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the APA’s Ray Brook headquarters. It will pick back up at 9 a.m. on Friday. The meeting will be broadcast live online, but public comment will have to be made in person. Face masks are not required but encouraged, the agency wrote.
There are several projects the board is expected to vote on including an amendment to the Whiteface Ski Center Unit Management Plan. More background on that here. Staff are recommending approval for the amendment’s conformance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) last held an adjudicatory public hearing in 2011 – the kind of hearing that involves sworn testimony and cross-examination of evidence before a law judge, followed by a full hearing record on which to base a judicious, carefully examined, evidence-based decision. That 2011 hearing was for the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort subdivision and development near Tupper Lake. In the eleven years since, and despite the many hundreds of permits issued by the APA since, including many large, regional projects, not a single adjudicatory public hearing has been convened by the APA.
In recognition of Terry Martino’s career as executive director of the Adirondack Park Agency, at her last APA board meeting before retiring, Martino was presented with a citation from Gov. Kathy Hochul, and the board passed the following resolution:
Whereas: On August 12, 2009, the Adirondack Park Agency Board appointed Terry Martino as Executive Director of the Adirondack Park Agency. For the next twelve and a half years, Executive Director Martino led the Park Agency with dignity, respect, and fundamental fairness until her retirement on February 22, 2022; and
Whereas: Terry Martino’s exceptional background was deeply rooted in decades of Adirondack environmental stewardship and smart growth accomplishments. Prior to her appointment to the Park Agency, she successfully advocated for the North Country as the Executive Director of the Adirondack North Country Association; and
Barbara Rice attended her first Adirondack Park Agency meeting last week as its new executive director just a few days after starting the job. It was a packed five-hour meeting.
“The one thing that stands out to me is how dedicated and hard working the staff here is,” Rice said, at the start of the meeting.
We published a couple of stories out of that Thursday marathon, including how the Olympic Regional Development Authority plans to widen some ski trails at Whiteface Mountain.
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