Posts Tagged ‘APA’

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Commentary:
Compromise, Consensus and a New Land Use Paradigm for the APA

APA officeAs I began to think about my series on the Adirondack Park Agency, my discussions with people elicited a wide variety of comments.  My topic over the next two weeks, land use policy, generated some skepticism from people who have been around the proverbial block on this issue.  “If you want to be buried in angry commentary, write about zoning,” went one.  “Private land use is the third rail of Adirondack politics,” went another.  These sentiments are not news to anyone.

But there are other comments I have heard over the last month. Here’s one: “I’m not opposed to development; I’m opposed to pollution.  Development is development, pollution is pollution.”  That quote, from the Strengthening the APA Conference held at the end of September came from an environmental advocate some would consider strongly anti-development.   Then there’s this: “Policies that protect the most appealing and beautiful parts of the land we’re developing, like clustering, make sense to me.  I want strong land value.”  That one is from a developer and contractor in the park, said to me over coffee a few weeks ago.  Or how about these vicious salvos (paraphrased as I didn’t write down the exact words):  “We should always be doing that sort of thing” (conservation design) and “I never understood why the APA allows houses that big to be built; there should be a restriction on size.”  Those two are from a real estate developer and realtor I know. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Essex Chain Classification On Hold

Essex ChainWhen the Adirondack Park Agency board meets next week, it will not be voting on a question that has been the subject of public controversy for months: the classification of 21,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands.

“There will be no action on Finch at this month’s meeting,” APA spokesman Keith McKeever told Adirondack Almanack. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Conference: ‘Ideas For A Better Park’

 

crowd-conf2Now in its forty-second year, the Adirondack Park Agency is facing a critical time of public evaluation. Has it fulfilled its original mandate to protect millions of woodland acres and thousands of miles of waterways in the Adirondacks? Or has it fallen short, pressured by development interests and weakened by outdated regulations and inadequate funding?

These questions will not be put to rest easily, if ever. Local governments, developers, state authorities, environmentalists, and ordinary citizens will continue to struggle with competing interests and old grudges even as they face a growing number of challenges.

At a recent conference sponsored by the Adirondack Explorer, called “Strengthening the APA,” various experts discussed strategies for protecting the Park’s water quality and wilderness character. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

APA Seeks Comments on Use of Aquatic Herbicides

APA officeThe Adirondack Park Agency is seeking public comment for recently proposed Agency guidance for the use of the aquatic herbicides Renovate and Renovate OTF to manage the aquatic invasive plant Eurasian watermilfoil. The comment period will run through November 7, 2013.

Renovate and Renovate OTF are aquatic herbicides used in the management of Eurasian watermilfoil. They are approved for use in New York State and primarily target dicot classified plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Adirondack Council Releases “State of the Park” Report

State of the Park 2013Many of the Adirondack Park’s environmental organizations and local governments stopped fighting one another and worked together in this year on issues of common concern, advancing agreements that better protect the park’s environment while also encouraging community development, according to the Adirondack Council’s 2013 State of the Park Report.

State of the Park is a 20-page, illustrated review of more than 100 actions taken by local, state and federal government officials, briefly explaining from the perspective of the Adirondack Council what they did to help or hurt the ecology and economy of the Adirondack Park over the past 12 months.  State of the Park has been published each October since 1986 as a report card intended to hold government officials accountable. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New State Lands: The Ecological Case for Wilderness

Essex ChainThe recent acquisition by the State of New York of the former Finch-Pruyn/Nature Conservancy lands means many things to many people. While economic, social, and political implications fuel many of the broader conversations occurring over these lands, these issues tend to drown out the quieter voice of the land itself.

Any visitor to the North Country knows that wild places are anything but silent, from the ever persistent hum of the mosquito, to the chittering call of the hunting kingfisher, to the push and pull of the wind through the forested hillsides. At the Adirondack Council we pay attention to these sounds, or more specifically, to the scientist and professionals who study how wild places and wild things are ecologically connected, and incorporate this critical input into our decision making process. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Commentary: The Adirondack Park Agency

APA officeAt the end of September I attended the “Strengthening the APA” conference organized by our sister publication the Adirondack Explorer and held at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center.  The day’s events, the roles and reactions of the various players in attendance have spurred me to write a series on various aspects of the Adirondack Park Agency and its ongoing role in the Adirondacks.

I invite Almanack readers to read the series of articles on the APA which have been published in the Adirondack Explorer over the last year (this one, by Phil Terrie, is the last in that initial series).  This is important work and part of a larger process – of which the conference was a part – that will culminate in a detailed proposal to revise the Agency and the Act which defines it.  Nothing I have to say is part of that process, nor will it overlap it.  For my purposes writing in the Almanack I consider myself an outside advocate. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Conservation Development in the Park: The Default Option

Butler Lake project, c. 1991“Let us develop as if human beings were planning to be around and live on this land for a while longer,” said Randall Arendt, the noted landscape planner and designer and author of numerous books about how to develop the land without ruining its natural, ecologically functional, aesthetic and economic values as open space, books such as Rural By Design. Arendt was one of the keynote speakers at the Adirondack Explorer’s one-day conference last week, Strengthening the APA (NYS Adirondack Park Agency).

Stating “there is no constitutional right to sprawl,” Arendt took it right to the APA. “I look forward to returning to the Adirondack Park when conservation development is the mandate and the norm, not the exception.” He argued that the APA should make conservation design of development the default option, and conventional lots which spreads development out the rare, special case. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Peter Bauer:
Governor Cuomo’s Role in Forest Preserve Classification

Essex ChainGovernor Andrew Cuomo visited the Adirondack Park on Thursday September 26th and devoted a full day to discussions with various parties about the looming decision by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) on the Forest Preserve classification of 21,000-acres of former Finch Paper lands along the Hudson River and around the Essex Chain Lakes.

I give the Governor high marks for making the trip and holding these meetings. (In the interest of full disclosure no one from Protect the Adirondacks was invited to these meetings. We are, after all, suing the Cuomo Administration with two pretty big lawsuits.) With Joe Martens, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in tow, the Governor met at Follensby Pond (his second trip there) with the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, the Adirondack Council and ADK. Those most closely aligned with the Cuomo Administration, who supported for the Adirondack Club & Resort project and/or the NYCO land swap, get to go fishing with the Governor.

The Governor then went to Gore Mountain and met with seven local government officials as well as Senator Betty Little and Assemblyman Dan Stec. At Gore, the Governor held a press conference. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peter Bauer: Homage to the 1924 Sign Law

billboards-AAThe 1924 sign law that effectively banned billboards throughout the Adirondack Park shows how our forbearers were braver, wiser, and more prescient than we are today.

It was a bold decision that resulted, by some accounts, in the removal of over 1,400 billboards. In the Adirondack Park this law largely prevented an assault of rooftop and roadside billboards that dominate broad stretches of the U.S. – the cluttered strips of Anywhere USA. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Park Perspectives: Regaining the Lead in Park Protection

preservationofprivateownedspace1Four decades ago the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) came into being. It was not an easy birth or infancy. Political opposition weakened this new creature even before it saw the light of day. And controversy surrounded its early years as it worked to incorporate conservation values in the regulation of private lands. Its efforts often were met with misunderstanding, misinformation, hostility, and defiance.

Its future, though, seemed as promising as its present was turbulent. Conceived with the promise of protecting the Park forever, the APA embodied the optimistic view that the Adirondacks could become a model for the world, a mix of public and private lands managed for the benefit of wild nature and human communities, natural beauty and an economy nurtured by the attractions of outdoor recreation and the wise use of natural resources. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

APA Member Opposes ‘Wild Forest’ For Essex Chain

Essex ChainThe Adirondack Park Agency commissioners have yet to vote on the classification of the Essex Chain Lakes, but one commissioner asserted Thursday that a Wild Forest designation would be inappropriate.

Richard Booth, one of eleven members of the APA board, said his reading of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan leads him to the conclusion that motorized access to, and motorized use of, the Essex Chain should be prohibited.

Under a Wild Forest classification, state officials would have the option of allowing people to drive all the way to the Essex Chain and to use motorboats. Thus, Booth favors a Wilderness, Primitive, or Canoe designation, all of which prohibit motorized use. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Adirondack Park Agency Meeting This Week

APA officeThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting at its Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, September 12 and Friday, September 13, 2013.  Among the issues the meeting will address are the use of Rotenone to kill largemouth bass in Lower Sargent Pond, the expansion of a Westport RV campground, a Webb subdivision, and more.

Although a decision is not expected, the APA will continue deliberations on how the former Finch Pruyn / Nature Conservancy lands recently added to the State Forest Preserve will be managed. These new state lands are located in the Towns of Minerva and Newcomb, and Indian Lake and include the Essex Chain Lakes, Indian River and OK Slip Falls. The meeting is streamed live online at the APA website. What follows is the meeting agenda released to the media. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

No Decision Yet On New State Lands: A Deliberations Update

Essex ChainAdirondack Park Agency (APA) spokesperson Keith McKeever has confirmed that the agency will not make a decision at its September meeting on how former Finch Paper lands recently acquired by New York State will be managed.

The classification of the lands around the Essex Chain of Lakes and Hudson Gorge is one of the biggest Forest Preserve decisions the APA has faced in more than a decade, one that has recently dominated public discussion in the Adirondacks.  » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Adirondack Explorer Hosting Conference On The APA

Paul Smiths AreaIn this 40th anniversary year of the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan, experts from the Adirondack Park and around the country will convene at the Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center on September 26, 2013 to assess the progress and unfinished business of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA).

The conference hopes to identify ways the agency can be strengthened, based on successful examples here and elsewhere of preserving water quality, wildlife habitat, and scenic beauty, while also bolstering the regional economy. The principles of conservation design will be a theme of the conference.   A $25 registration fee covers coffee, lunch, and a reception following the event. » Continue Reading.