As 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.