Posts Tagged ‘APA’

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ross Whaley on ‘Private Lands in a Park’ at Adk Museum

On Monday, August 17, 2009, Ross Whaley, past Chairman of the Adirondack Park Agency, will present a program entitled “Private Lands in a Park: An Historical Accident, A Mistake, or an Asset” at the Adirondack Museum. Whaley will discuss the importance of private land stewardship in defining the character of the Adirondack Park, as well as the challenges of maintaining a park that is unique in the world.

Part of the museum’s Monday Evening Lecture series, the presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for museum members. Admission is $5.00 for non-members.

Ross S. Whaley is President Emeritus, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Since October of 2007 Dr. Whaley has served as Senior Advisor to the Adirondack Land Owners Association. He assumed this post after serving as Chairman of the Adirondack Park Agency for four years. He brought to these positions more than 30 years experience as a university teacher, researcher and administrator. He also served as Director of Economics Research for the US Forest Service for six years. Whaley holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry and a PhD in natural resource economics from the University of Michigan.

From 1984-2005 Dr. Whaley was associated with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 16 years as its President and subsequently as University Professor. As Professor his interest focused on the political economy of sustainable development.

Ross Whaley has served as a consultant to or member of several state, national, and international commissions devoted to natural resource and environmental issues. In recognition of these activities he has been awarded the Pinchot Medallion by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, the Professional Conservationist Award by the New York Conservation Council, the Heiberg Memorial Award by the New York Forest Owners Association, and is an Honor Alumnus of Colorado State University.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August APA Meeting: Wind Projects, Enforcement

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, August 13 and Friday August 14 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The August meeting will be webcast live. The Agency’s homepage has a link to view the webcast. Here is the meeting agenda form the APA:

The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for the Acting Executive Director’s monthly report and introduction of the Agency’s new Executive Director, Terry Martino.

At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider two residential wind turbine proposals, one in the Town of Essex, Essex County and one in the Town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County.

Both applicants propose the installation of wind-powered turbines to generate electricity for their existing single family dwellings. The proposed tower in Essex is 65-feet tall with nine foot diameter turbine blades for a maximum overall height of 70 feet. The proposed tower in Indian Lake is 105-feet tall with 18 foot diameter turbine blades for a maximum overall height of 115 feet.

Key issues include visibility and compliance with the Agency’s Tall Structures and Towers Policy.

The committee meeting will conclude with a staff briefing on the original and revised plans for the Olympic regional Development Authority Conference Center in Lake Placid, Essex County.

At 11:30, the Legal Affairs Committee will receive an update on the Agency’s proposed legislation involving affordable housing incentives, permit reforms and community planning funds. Staff will also provide a status update on current regulatory revision.

At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will consider a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and authorization for staff to conduct a public hearing for proposed map amendments to the Official Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan. Agency staff initiated this reclassification of private land in the Town of Fine, St. Lawrence County, which local officials raised during a Community Spotlight presentation to the Agency Board. The proposal would result in the reclassification of 64 acres of Resource Management to Low Intensity Use and help accommodate future growth needs related to the community medical facility.

At 1:30, the State Land Committee will hear a status report on the Bog River Complex/Lows Lake classification/reclassification public hearing process. The committee will also hear a first reading of the proposed draft inter-agency memorandum of understanding for travel corridor management plans. This MOU between the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation and the APA outlines an approach for developing, reviewing and implementing travel corridor unit management plans for the approximately 1,100 miles of state highway corridors in the Adirondack Park.

At 2:30, the full Agency will convene for the ongoing Community Spotlight Series. This month Town of Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed is the guest speaker for the Community Spotlight presentation. Supervisor Goodspeed will give an overview of his community and highlight important community issues facing this Warren County town.

At 3:30, the Enforcement Committee will come to order for administrative enforcement proceedings related to alleged permit violations resulting in non compliance from house size, septic system and shoreline cutting violations on a private property in the Town of Putnam, Washington County and an alleged unauthorized subdivision resulting in substandard lots in the Town of Mayfield, Fulton County.

On Friday morning at 9:00, the Park Ecology Committee will convene for a presentation from Dr. Otto Doering III on the Economic Impact of Invasive Species. Dr. Doering is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University and a member of the US Department of Interior’s Invasive Species Advisory Committee. He publishes in the areas of agricultural policy, resource conservation, water, energy/biofuels, and climate change and is a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

APA Soil Scientist and Forester Larry Phillips will then inform the Park ecology Committee on Federal efforts to track the spread of Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle. Mr. Phillips will demonstrate how to identify these species and highlight ongoing federal efforts to detect them inside the Adirondack Park.

At 10:30am the Economic Affairs Committee will continue focusing on small business development. Empire State Development Regional Director Peter Wohl along with Economic Development Program Administrator Doug Schelleng will give a presentation detailing current programs administered through Empire State Development.

Empire State Development and the Governor’s newly appointed Small Business Development Task Force are in the process of evaluating the needs of small businesses to determine what adjustments would best meet the economic development needs of the State.

The Full Agency will convene at 10:45 to take action as necessary and conclude the meeting with committee reports, public and member comment.

Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website at: http://www.apa.state.ny.us/Mailing/0908/index.htm

The next Agency meeting is September 10-11, 2009 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.

October Agency Meeting: October 8-9, 2009, Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Public Hearing: Rezoning 2,000 Acres in Inlet, Hamilton County

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 7:30pm in the Inlet Town Hall to discuss the Town’s proposed amendments to the Official Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan Map and provide opportunity for the public to comment on these proposals. The town’s proposals could result in a net increase of more than 1,000 buildings according to the APA. The hearing will be preceded at 6:30pm with an informal information session.

The four proposals would reclassify lands into a less restrictive classification which could potentially result in increased development in the areas under consideration. Here is the description from the APA:

On June 22, 2009 the Adirondack Park Agency received a completed application from the Town of Inlet, Hamilton County to reclassify approximately 1,913 acres of land on the Official Park Map in four separate areas within the Town of Inlet. The Official Map is the document identified in Section 805 (2) (a) of the Adirondack Park Agency Act (Executive Law, Article 27), and is the primary component of the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan, which guides land use planning and development of private land in the Park.

Area A involves 203.4+/- acres of land along Uncas Road, between the Pigeon Lake Wilderness on the north and the Fulton Chain Wild Forest on the south. The Town proposes to reclassify the area from Low Intensity to Moderate Intensity.

Area B involves 23.6 +/- acres of land along State Highway 28 which serves as the southwest boundary for this area. This area is adjacent to the hamlet of Inlet and positioned between County Highway 1 and Limekiln Road. The Town proposes to reclassify the area from Low Intensity to Moderate Intensity Use.

Area C involves 1,043.7 +/- acres located along Limekiln Road which intersects with NYS Route 28, to the north, and runs south to Limekiln Lake. The Town proposes to reclassify the area from Rural Use to Moderate Intensity Use.

Area D involves 642.6 +/- acres of land south of State Highway 28, which serves as the northern boundary. The area is bordered on the east by the Moose River Plains Wild Forest. The Town proposes to reclassify the area from Low Intensity Use to Moderate Intensity Use.

Detailed information and maps related to this proposal may be viewed at the Agency’s website at:
www.apa.state.ny.us/_assets/mapamendments/MA200804_DSEIS.pdf

When considering proposed map amendments the Agency must prepare a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS), hold a combined public hearing on both the proposed map amendment and the DSEIS, and incorporate all comments into a Final Supplemental Impact Environmental Statement (FSEIS). The FSEIS includes the hearing summary, public comments, and Agency staff written analysis, as finalized after the public hearing and comments are reviewed. The Agency then decides (a) whether to accept the FSEIS and (b) whether to approve the map amendment request, deny the request or approve an alternative. The Agency’s decision on a map amendment request is a legislative decision based upon the application, public comment, the DSEIS and FSEIS, and staff analysis. The public hearing is for informational purposes and is not conducted in an adversarial or quasi-judicial format.

In addition to the public hearing on August 12 at the Inlet Town Hall the Agency is accepting written comment on these proposals until September 4, 2009.

Written comments may be sent to: Matthew S. Kendall Adirondack Park Agency P.O. Box 99 Ray Brook, NY 12977


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

APA Adds Public Hearing on Land Classifications

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) held three public hearings in July regarding proposals to classify and reclassify state lands and water involving the Five Ponds Wilderness Area, Lows Lake Primitive Area, Hitchens Pond Primitive Area, Round Lake Wilderness Area, Lows Lake, Hitchens Pond and the Bog River. These areas are located in the northwest part of the Adirondack Park in Hamilton and St. Lawrence Counties. The Agency will hold an additional hearing on August 10, 2009 at its Ray Brook headquarters and will continue to accept written public comments through August 28,2009. » Continue Reading.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Visual: Whallonsburg Farmworker Housing

I took this photo because I’d been wondering what the farmworker housing in the news looks like.

Several reporters I know who have followed this issue for the past few years have come to the same conclusion: the Adirondack Park Agency would have granted a permit for these houses if the farm had applied for one; this is a battle of jurisdiction and principle between two well-lawyered parties.

The reaction of the farm’s owner, former Wall Street trader Salim B. “Sandy” Lewis, to his recent state appellate court win can be found on his Web site. The APA has not commented yet. But if the reporters are right, we should see the question of whether these structures are more essentially “farm accessory” or more essentially “house” ascend to another court.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Comments Sought on Route 28 Widening, Maintenance

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold a legislative hearing on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at the Forestport Town Hall on a proposed widening and improvement of a ten mile stretch of Route 28 from Route 12 (in Forestport, Oneida County) to the Moose River in the Town of Webb (Herkimer County). The project sponsors, NYSDOT and National Grid, will also be there to answer questions or address concerns about the design of the project. APA staff will be available to discuss the permitting process. The legislative hearing will start at 6:15pm.

Here is a description of the project and other details on the meeting which were supplied by the APA:

The project begins approximately 6 miles north of the intersection of Routes 12 and 28 in Alder Creek and terminates at the Moose River in McKeever for a total project length of approximately 10.3 miles. The project consists of resurfacing a section from the southerly limit of the project for a length of approximately 2 miles; a reconstruction section for approximately 2.5 miles through Woodgate and a portion of White Lake; resurfacing a section with minor widening for a length of approximately 1.5 miles through a portion of White Lake; and resurfacing a section for the remainder of the project for a length of approximately 4.5 miles through Otter Lake to the Moose River in the Town of Webb. There will be utility relocations throughout the reconstruction section to provide a minimum offset from the edge of travel lane of 16 feet. There will be additional isolated utility pole relocations within the resurfacing sections to provide the same 16 foot offset.

PURPOSE OF MEETING: This is an informal legislative hearing conducted by the Adirondack Park Agency pursuant to APA Act section 804(6) to receive public comment on the proposed project. The hearing will include introductory presentations on the project design by the NYS Department of Transportation and National Grid. Agency staff will take notes on the public comment. Comments may be submitted by verbal statements during the hearing or by submitting a written statement. Agency Board Members and Designees may be present to hear the public comments. The Agency Board will make its decision on the project at one of its monthly meetings at some time in the near future.

GOAL OF THE MEETING: To allow the public to express concerns regarding this proposed project and how it may positively or negatively impact individual properties or the community.

MEETING FORMAT: NYSDOT, National Grid and APA personnel will be available from 5:30 to 6:15, prior to the formal presentation, to address any questions or concerns that individuals may have about the design of the project or the APA permitting process. At 6:15 APA Deputy Director Mark Sengenberger will commence the formal portion of the hearing. He will introduce NYSDOT and National Grid personnel who will make brief presentations concerning the project objectives, scope, schedule and cost. During the presentations, the public can ask questions for clarification purposes only. Following the presentations, members of the public will have the opportunity to make brief verbal statements about the project. There will be a sign up sheet for any persons wishing to make public comment. In order to allow everyone to speak who wants to, comments will be limited to no more than 3 minutes in length and speakers will go in the order that they signed up. Members of the public can provide additional written comments to the Agency at or after the meeting. Town of Forestport and Town of Webb officials will be present and introduced at the meeting.

APA Project No. 2008-0216

NYSDOT PIN: 2018.60


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cold Spring Granite Company Looks To Expand

Neighbors of the Cold Spring Granite Company recently received notice from the Adirondack Park Agency that the company hopes to expand its quarry in Au Sable Forks. Cold Spring Granite is one of the largest stone manufacturers in the world and it continues to thrive, even in this tough economy. (In fact they are currently looking to hire a hand polisher and installer – apply in person at 13791 Route 9N in Au Sable Forks).

Cold Spring Granite supplies products ranging from building facing, to countertop slabs, grave markers, and mausoleums. It has been privately held by the Alexander family for three generations. Cold Spring (of Minnesota) established the (subsidiary) Lake Placid Granite Company in 1957. Local residents complained over the mine’s expansion by 25 percent in 1988.

Here is the APA’s project description:

The project is a greater than 25% expansion of pre-1973 mineral extraction (Quarry) with a 70.10± acre life of mine. The applicant proposes the extraction of a maximum of 10,500 cubic yards of consolidated mineral, on an annual basis during a five year permit term in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Conservation permit. A total of 41.60± acres will be affected in the next five year term. The proposed mining operation will operate year-round, May 1-September 30, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday’s 7:00 a.m. to 12 noon, and October 1- April 30, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 400 p.m., and Saturday’s 7:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Proposed blasting hours are year round Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Crushing and breaking of rock will occur during hours of operation. There will be no rock crushing, rock breaking, or blasting on Saturdays. On occasion there will 24 hour operations for the cutting of stone. The equipment to be used in the mining operation includes front-end loaders, bulldozers, dump trucks and portable rock crusher, excavators, generators and rock cutting saws.

The quarry shares a border with the Ausable Acres residential community. Public comments are being taken until July 23, 2008 and should be addressed to:

Michael P. Hannon
Adirondack Park Agency
P.O. Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977
(518)891-4050

Include the Project Number (2008-229) in any correspondence.


Friday, July 10, 2009

ANCA Head Named APA Head

Adirondack Park Agency Chairman Curt Stiles announced today that Terry Martino will become executive director of the state land-use oversight agency in August.

Martino, a resident of Onchiota, has been involved in economic and community development projects throughout the park as director since 1991 of the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA), an independent agency that helps obtain grants and build networks for woods-products businesses, farmers, artisans, tourism entrepreneurs and related municipal infrastructure. The APA has operated under the interim staff leadership of Mark Sengenberger and Jim Connolly since the retirement of Richard Lefebvre, of Caroga Lake, two years ago. Martino will earn a salary of $90,800.

Following are details about the Martino appointment from an APA press release:

“Terry Martino brings an incredibly rich background and understanding of the Adirondack Park, its people and its needs,” said Chairman Stiles. “We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Terry’s established management abilities, leadership skills and demonstrated success in the key leadership position at the Agency,” he concluded.

Terry Martino said, “I would like to thank Governor Paterson, Chairman Stiles and Agency Commissioners for this opportunity to work with them, Agency staff and all stakeholders to address the future of the Adirondack Park. Throughout my career I have recognized the tremendous value of balancing economic and community development with environmental stewardship inside the Park.”

Since 1986 Ms Martino has worked for the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA). She served as Program Director before her promotion, in 1991, to ANCA’s Executive Director. As Executive Director she managed the regional non-profit organization that is committed to economically viable communities, environmental stewardship and protecting a rural quality of life.

Ms Martino’s responsibility included oversight of personnel, programs and finances with annual budgets ranging from $600,000 to 2.5 million dollars. She provided community outreach, public communications and developed strong partnerships with numerous municipalities, agencies and organizations including providing administrative support to initiatives such as the Common Ground Alliance. She was also responsible for securing and managing millions of dollars in investment in the Adirondack North Country including; USDA Forest Service Ice Storm Recovery Program, Scenic Byways Marketing Programs, USDA Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative and the Heifer Project International.

Ms Martino was a delegate in Saranac Lake’s successful selection as an All American City in 1998 during the National Civic League Competition in Mobile, Alabama. In 2004, she was appointed as a member to the Northern Forest Lands Council 10th Anniversary Forum. She has been a member of the NYSDOT Scenic Byways Advisory Board since 1992.

She has numerous professional affiliations including:
NYSDOT Scenic Byways Advisory Board
Director Adirondack Railway Preservation Society
Northern Forest Strategic Economy Initiative
Adirondack Energy Smart Park Initiative
NYSDEC Adirondack Park Advisory Committee
Core Team Member – Adirondack Common Ground Alliance
Project Manager Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project
Director CBN Connect

Ms Martino received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Carleton University and a Master Degree in Professional Studies from The NEW School, Graduate School of Management.

The New York State Adirondack Park Agency was created in 1971 by the State Legislature to develop long-range land use plans for both public and private lands within the boundary of the Adirondack Park. With its headquarters located in Ray Brook, the Agency also operates two Visitor Interpretive Centers, in Newcomb and Paul Smiths. For more information, call the APA at (518) 891-4050 or visit www.apa.state.ny.us.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Adirondack Park Agency July Meeting Agenda

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, July 9 and Friday July 10 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The July meeting will be webcast live on the Agency’s homepage. The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for the Acting Executive Director’s monthly report. Here is the full APA agenda:

At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider a proposal from the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency and Graymont Materials (NY) Inc. to undertake a two-lot subdivision and relocate Graymont’s existing ready-mix concrete batch plant from the Village of Tupper Lake to an existing 135+/- acre business park located on the westerly side of Pitchfork Pond Road in the Town of Tupper Lake, Franklin County.

The new facility would be located on a 5.07+/- lot and include a ready-mix concrete batch plant, a boiler room, an office/lab, a stockpile area of crushed stone and sand, and parking areas. A self contained/recycling truck washout pit which would contain all material washed off/out of the trucks would also be located on project site.

Key issues include revisions to business park covenants, potential impacts to adjoining land uses, visual impacts and local approvals.

Next the committee will consider a second permit renewal for a single- family dwelling and temporary two-lot subdivision into sites in the town of Webb, Herkimer County.

The committee will also determine approvability for a Verizon proposed 74-foot telecommunications tower and 10-foot lightning rod for an overall height of 84-feet. The proposed tower would be installed east of the Northway in the Town of North Hudson, Essex County adjacent to the northbound High Peaks Rest Stop, which is located between exits 29 and 30, on Interstate 87.

Key issues include Agency Towers Policy compliance and co-location potential.

At 11:30, the Legal Affairs Committee will receive an update on the Agency’s proposed legislation involving affordable housing incentives, permit reforms and community planning funds. Staff will also provide a status update on current regulatory revision.

At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will consider a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and authorization for staff to conduct a public hearing for proposed map amendments to the Official Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan. The Town of Inlet, Hamilton County is requesting the reclassification of approximately 1,913 acres of private land. The proposals are located in four areas throughout the town and would result in the reclassification of:

• Low Intensity Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 203.4+/- acres • Low Intensity Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 23.6+/- acres • Rural Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 1043.7+/- acres • Low Intensity Use to Moderate Intensity Use; 642.6+/- ac

Following this discussion the committee will hear a presentation from Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages President Brain Towers and Jim Martin from the LA Group on the recently completed Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project. The discussion will focus on the community infrastructure inventory that was conducted as part of the regional assessment.

At 2:30, the Administration Committee will hear a final reading and possibly adopt revisions to the Agency’s Policy & Guidance System. In addition, Acting Executive Director James Connolly will inform the committee about ongoing landscaping efforts at the APA facility in Ray Brook.

At 3:30, the Enforcement Committee will come to order for administrative enforcement proceedings related to alleged permit violations resulting from non compliant signage on commercial businesses in the Town of Ticonderoga, Essex County and an alleged wetland fill/disturbance violation on a private property in the Town of Hopkinton, St Lawrence County.

On Friday morning at 9:00, the Interpretive Programs Committee will convene for a presentation on regional events planned for the Quadricentennial celebration and events planned for September 19th at the Crown Point Historic Site.

The Full Agency will convene at 10:00 to take action as necessary and conclude the meeting with committee reports, public and member comment.

Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website at: http://www.apa.state.ny.us/Mailing/0907/index.htm

The next Agency meeting is August 13-14, 2009 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.

September Agency Meeting September 10-11, 2009, Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

DEC, APA Remind Shoreline Owners About Regulations

Shoreline property owners and contractors who plan to construct, replace or expand structures located within shoreline setback areas or repair or install seawalls, riprap, docks, cribs and/or boathouses on waters within the Adirondack Park, are advised to contact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) before undertaking any work according to the following press release from the state agencies, published here for your information:

Among the most valuable resources in the Park is the land along its thousands of streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. The shoreline is an important ecological feature that defines the transition zone between land and water. All levels of the food chain – from forage fish to large mouth bass, shorebirds to waterfowl, and amphibians to mammals – benefit from a “healthy” shoreline.

DEC and APA staff can determine if permits or variances are required and provide information on ways to minimize environmental damage associated with construction in and around protected waterways. The laws the APA and DEC administers protect wildlife habitat, water quality and the scenic appeal of Adirondack shorelines by establishing setbacks, lot widths and cutting restrictions.

“Shorelines are a valuable natural feature of the Adirondacks. The application of appropriate standards for shoreline structures protects the aesthetic character of our landscape as well as associated habitats for a variety of wildlife.” said Betsy Lowe, Regional Director for DEC Region 5

“Every year, our law enforcement officers encounter project sites along the water where work is underway without proper permits,” said Judy Drabicki, Regional Director for DEC Region 6

“Due to the 2008 APA rule changes pertaining to shoreline structures within the Adirondack Park, the public is strongly encouraged to also contact APA staff for regulatory advice before constructing, replacing or expanding shoreline structures,” said Curt Stiles, Chairman of the APA.

DEC has recently identified “Preferred Methods” for shoreline stabilization. These include preserving as much natural shoreline as possible; use of vegetation plantings, where feasible, to stabilize the shoreline, create habitat and reduce pollution from stormwater; and bioengineering which utilizes a combination of natural materials (sticks, logs, root wads, etc.) and applied engineering to correct shoreline problems.

More information on shoreline stabilization, including preferred and traditional methods, is available on the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/42519.html.

Contacts for shoreline projects in the Adirondack Park:

• All locations within the Adirondack Park – Adirondack Park Agency, in Ray Brook at (518) 891-4050

• Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton Counties – DEC Region 5 Environmental Permits Office in Ray Brook at (518)897-1234

• Fulton, Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties – DEC Region 5 Environmental Permits Office in Warrensburg at (518)623-1281

• Lewis, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties – DEC Region 6 Environmental Permits Office in Watertown at (315)785-2245

• Herkimer and Oneida counties – DEC Region 6 Environmental Permits Office in Utica at (315)793-2555


Monday, June 29, 2009

Latest APA Classifications: Public Comments Sought

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has opened the public comment period and will conduct three public hearings on its proposals to classify and reclassify 12,545 acres of state lands and water of the Five Ponds Wilderness Area, Lows Lake Primitive Area, Hitchens Pond Primitive Area, Round Lake Wilderness Area Lows Lake, Hitchens Pond and the Bog River. These areas are located in the northwest part of the Adirondack Park in Hamilton and St. Lawrence Counties. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What is an Adirondack Wetland?

We have a new school program here at the Visitor Interpretive Centers: What is a Wetland? Since I am in the process of putting the finishing touches on this program, I thought it would make a good topic for the Almanack.

Put very simply, wetlands are lands that are, well, wet. That is to say, they are wet for part or all of the year. Some wetlands are obvious, like swamps, bogs and marshes that have sodden ground or standing water that you can see (or feel) every time you are there. Other wetlands, however, are seasonal, appearing when water levels are high, and disappearing in the heat of summer.

One of the Adirondack Park Agency’s responsibilities is protecting the integrity of wetlands within the Blue Line. They have staff who go into the field to conduct “wetland deliniations,” which are essentially determinations of the borders of wetlands. In order to do this, their staff look at three determining criteria: plant species, soil type(s) and hydrology.

The plant part is easy. There are species of plants that are either totally dependent on water (like pickerel weed and sphagnum moss), some that are in water two-thirds of the time you find them (like Joe-Pye-weed and black spruce), and others that are nowhere near water (like sugar maple and eastern white pine). If the area in question has a majority of plants in the first two categories, it is a wetland.

Soil types are kind of fun to determine. A core sample is taken within the test area. The soil from the sample is then compared to a soil chart, looking for evidence of oxidation. Oxidation indicates the presence of air in the soil. If there is no sign of oxidation, the soil is considered gleyed and is classified as a wetland soil. If oxidation has occurred, the soil will look rusty. If the amount of oxidation is minimal, the area is likely a seasonal wetland. On the other hand, if the soil is totally oxidized, then air gets through the layers year round and it is not a wetland.

Finally, we come to hydrology: is there water present? If there is visual evidence of innundation or saturation, you have a wetland. Do you see water? Does it squish underfoot? Is there a line of debris along the shoreline, below which the shore is scoured of vegetation? Are there areas of dead trees, where the trees essentially drowned from flooding? These are all indicators of wetland habitats.

Why is the APA so concerned about wetlands? Wetlands are extremely important habitats. Far too many people are unaware of just how important they are. Over the course of my career in environmental education, I’ve come to conclusion that many people think that those of us who promote the protection of wetlands are merely looking at them as animal homes, but the truth is that while indeed they are imporant for all kinds of wildlife, they are also so very important for people.

For one thing, wetlands clean and filter all sorts of pollutants from our water. These pollutants range from toxic chemicals to seemingly harmless fertilizers, like nitrogen and phosphorous. We know that nitrogen and phosphorous are essential for healthy soil and plants, but when large amounts enter lakes, ponds or streams, the result is potentially harmful algal blooms and excessive growth of water weeds, which can choke waterways and reduce oxygen levels in the water, resulting in the death of fish and aquatic invertebrates.

Wetlands also act as giant sponges. Every time it rains, wetlands soak up the water and release it slowly. This helps protect areas downstream from severe flooding. Look at places around the globe that suffer from massive floods today. Chances are that over the last century or two the associated wetlands have been changed or entirely removed. Without the mediating effects of these “sponges,” the water now rushes downstream, gathering speed and volume, with nothing to slow its progress as it rushes to the sea. This leads to the next benefit we get from wetlands.

Wetlands reduce soil erosion by slowing down the flow. With slower moving water, shorelines are not eaten away, and silt can fall out of the water, leaving cleaner, clearer water to continue downstream.

And, of course, wetlands are vital habitats for fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and mammals.

Did you know that one of the deciding factors for the establishment of the Adirondack Park over one hundred years ago was protection of our waters? The Adirondack region is the source of much of the drinking water for downstate New York. With all the unregulated logging that was done in the 1800s, vast areas of land were left denuded of trees, and as a result, streams and rivers were severely impacted. Some had reduced flow, others were no longer clean as a result of runoff. You can listen to a reenactment of the 1894 New York State Constitutional Convention at the Newcomb VIC that lays out these very concerns.

So, yes, wetlands are important and we need to protect them. After all, there is only a limited amount of freshwater on this planet, and all environmental reports these days suggest that freshwater will soon become more valuable than gold. We need to protect our freshwater so that it will always be there when we need it, and this means protecting our wetlands.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Andy Flynn, Chris Knight to Leave Their Jobs

Two local media tidbits to report this morning. The first is the announcement that Andy Flynn is no longer at the VIC. According to an e-mail sent by Flynn: “As of June 25, Andy Flynn will no longer be serving as the Senior Public Information Specialist at the NYS Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Centers.” The e-mail did not include details as to why Flynn was leaving. Adirondack Almanack reported here last month that Flynn, a resident of Saranac Lake would no longer be writing his weekly “Adirondack Attic.”

The second piece of media news also comes from Saranac Lake – Mountain Communications News Director and host of WNBZ’s “Talk of the Town” radio program Chris Knight will be leaving Mountain Communications. Chris Morris, Assistant News Director at Mountain Communications forwarded the following press release regarding Knight’s departure. I’m reprinting it here for the information of our readers:

SARANAC LAKE — In an announcement made during “The Morning News” on WNBZ and ROCK105 Thursday morning, News Director Chris Knight revealed to his audience that in just a few short weeks he will be leaving Mountain Communications. Knight joined the station’s news department in September of 2001, two days before the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Mountain Communications Owner and General Manager Ted Morgan said Chris will be missed. “Since the day he started, Chris immediately began to build himself a solid reputation as one of the leading news reporters in the region,” Morgan said. “I can say this because I regularly hear from people Chris reports on, as well as listeners, that his style of reporting tells a story so close to what actually happened that you could have been there. This attention to detail and dedication to his craft is what’s given Chris and our entire news department a reputation for quality and accurate news reporting.”

During his tenure as news director at WNBZ, “The Morning News” expanded from two to three hours and was added to ROCK105’s, giving Knight the opportunity to bring the news to a region of the Adirondacks stretching from Old Forge to Wilmington. “The Morning News” currently airs from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. weekdays on ROCK105 (WLPW 105.5 FM and WRGR 102.1 FM) WNBZ (920 AM and 1240 AM) and Time Warner Cable Channel 2.

Talk of the Town, a long-time staple of “The Morning News,” flourished under Knight’s tenure. He increased the program’s length and worked to foster a meaningful discussion of important community issues in a respectful manner.

“Chris was able to take the program to a new level, adding length to the discussion, re-formatting the Adirondack Regional Report and strengthening the overall value of the program for our listeners,” Morgan said. “Chris was able to make it his own. We have a fabulous news department and I’m sure the tradition will continue as we work hard to continue programs like Talk of the Town and to report the news that is relevant and valuable to the communities we serve.”

In addition to “The Morning News,” Knight hosted “The K & J Show,” predecessor to WNBZ’s current public affairs program “North Country Today.” For the last three years, Knight teamed up with Doug Haney to host “Control Alt Delete,” a two-hour alternative music program which currently airs on ROCK105 Thursday nights from 9 to 11 p.m.

An avid outdoorsman, Knight produced an historic documentary on the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks in a series called “High Peaks Journal.” The program continues to be available online at WNBZ’s website www.wnbz.com.

Knight also helped to create the stations’ mission statement; “Mountain Communications is committed to working together as a team to deliver quality radio programming that excites, informs and serves our listeners while connecting our advertisers and their customers creatively, promoting economic development and quality of life in the communities we serve.”

Knight has also hosted telethons and fundraisers for High Peaks Hospice, Habitat for Humanity and First Night Saranac Lake.

Assistant News Director Chris Morris will replace Knight in July. He called his time working with Knight “invaluable.”

“He has hands-down been the best coworker I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” Morris said. “His work ethic and commitment to delivering the most accurate news to the Tri-Lakes region is unmatched. He leaves behind some pretty big shoes to fill – and I will do my best to fill them and carry on the legacy he leaves behind.”


Saturday, June 6, 2009

80-House Brandreth Park Project on Adirondack Park Agency Agenda

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, June 11 and Friday June 12 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook. The June meeting will be webcast live via a link on the Agency’s homepage at www.apa.state.ny.us. Here is the meeting agenda:

The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for the Acting Executive Director’s monthly report.

At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider Brandreth Park Association’s large scale residential development project proposed for an 8,670 acre tract of land surrounding Brandreth Lake in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. The applicant requests authorization, over a 100 year period, for new residential sites to accommodate up to 80 single family dwellings, a caretaker’s residence, a “gathering house”, five commonly owned guesthouses and up to four boathouses on portions of the tract. The creation of building sites is considered a subdivision under the APA Act.

At this time the committee will consider just the first proposed section which includes the subdivision into sites for construction of up to 44 single family dwellings and one or more of five planned guesthouses. Building footprints for these structures will not exceed 2,500 square feet or 35 feet in height.

Any future proposed land use and development will require separate Agency approval. All proposed development will be clustered within a 442 acre development area at the northern end of Brandreth Lake. No new land use or development is planned for the remaining 8,230 acres (95%) which will remain as open space forestland.

Next the committee will consider a second permit renewal for a convenience store, deli and gas station in the town of Greig, Lewis County.

Following this discussion the committee will consider approval for two general permit applications, one for structural stabilization of shorelines as watershed management projects or involving wetlands and a second for residential subdivisions involving regulated wetlands.

The committee meeting will conclude with a staff presentation summarizing cellular projects constructed along the Adirondack Northway.

At 11:30, the State Land Committee will consider a proposed classification and reclassification of certain State lands under the jurisdiction of the NYS Department of Transportation to State Administration.

At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will hear a presentation on the Agency’s map amendment process. Planning staff will explain the criteria used in approving map amendment requests, review Ticonderoga’s recent amendment which resulted in expansion to their Hamlet area and provide an example of a possible future Hamlet expansion in the Town of Westport, Essex County.

At 1:45, planning staff will demonstrate to the Local Government Services Committee a land use mapping tool developed internally to assist local governments with community planning and zoning efforts. This application takes advantage of a commonly used digital file format and will allow local communities to tap into the Agency’s computer mapping capabilities without incurring extensive software and training costs.

At 2:15, the “Community Spotlight” segment will feature Town of Bellmont Supervisor Bruce Russell. Supervisor Russell will provide an overview of his community and highlight important issues facing this northern Franklin County town.

At 3:00, the Enforcement Committee will come to order for an administrative enforcement proceeding related to alleged violations resulting from the operation of a junkyard without an Agency permit. These violations are alleged to have occurred along State Route 73 in the Town of Keene, Essex County.
On Friday morning at 9:00, the Economic Affairs Committee will convene for a follow-up to its April 2009 presentation on three successful manufacturing businesses in Essex County. This month’s focus is on small business development assistance that is available through the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) and the North Country Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Plattsburgh State. The committee will be briefed by Mike Conway, Adirondack Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, and Rick Leibowitz, Regional Director for the Small Business Development Centeron on small business assistance programs.

At 10:00, the Legal Affairs Committee will receive an update on the Agency’s proposed legislation involving affordable housing incentives, permit reforms and community planning funds. Staff will also provide a status update on current regulatory revision.

At 10:30, the Administration Committee will review proposed revisions to the Agency’s Policy & Guidance System.

The Full Agency will convene at 11:00 to take actions as necessary and conclude the meeting with committee reports, public and member comment.

Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website at: http://www.apa.state.ny.us/Mailing/0906/index.htm

The next Agency meeting is July 9-10, 2009 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.

August Agency Meeting August 13-14, 2009, Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tri-Lakes Power Line Close, More Lines Proposed

We’ve moved one step closer to having a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot in November that affects a corner of the Adirondack Park in Colton in St. Lawrence County. Monday the NYS Senate passed (62-0) a bill that would allow the construction of a power line from Stark Falls Reservoir to the Village of Tupper Lake. The supplemental line would pass through a section of Route 56 roadside within the Adirondack Forest Preserve between Seveys Corners (near the Carry and Starks Falls reservoirs) and the hamlet of South Colton. The line is part of a project to improve power reliability for the Tri-Lakes communities of Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. » Continue Reading.