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Monday, October 20, 2014
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Tupper ruling may face one more fight

Saturday, August 09, 2014 - Updated: 8:46 AM

By CRISTINE MEIXNER

Editor

TUPPER LAKE -- Three weeks ago it looked as if the Adirondack Club and Resort project here would be moving ahead. Now it might have one more legal challenge to face.

The environmental groups Protect The Adirondacks and Sierra Club and a neighboring landowner have asked the Appellate Division of the Third Judicial District of Supreme Court for permission to take their case to the Court of Appeals, New York state's highest court.

The group believes the Adirondack Park Agency, the regional zoning authority, should not have approved the project. They challenged the decision but lost their case in both Supreme Court and the Appellate Division.

Their motion seeking to appeal the July 3 Appellate Division ruling has a return date of Aug. 18. If the Appellate Division denies the motion, Protect and Sierra Club plan to make a similar motion to the Court of Appeals, as provided for under the applicable rules of procedure, they say in a press release.

"[We] strongly disagree with the Appellate Court decision," the statement continues. "[Our] lawsuit primarily focused on the approval by the APA of 80 "Great Camp" lots spread widely throughout lands classified as Resource Management...

"The court's decision did not examine the failure of the APA to uphold the APA Act for development of lands classified as Resource Management. If the Appellate Court decision is upheld, it will create a ruinous precedent that will negatively impact hundreds of thousands of acres classified as Resource Management across the Adirondack Park."

Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club also say the Appellate Division erred when it held that the Adirondack Park Private Land Use and Development Plan is merely guidance to the APA and is not binding upon it.

The APA was created by the state Legislature in 1971 to plan and regulate both state and private land use within the Adirondack Park. It created the Adirondack Park Private Land Use and Development Plan that took effect in 1973.

Protect and the Sierra Club say the Appellate Division also erred when it held that the APA's reliance upon post-approval studies of adverse impacts to wetlands and wildlife was not arbitrary and capricious.

They also allege the APA relied on materials that illegally supplemented the hearing record to make its decision, and that the court has failed to examine ex parte communication issues.

Both the Supreme Court and its Appellate Division have ruled against Protect and the Sierra Club.

The APA approved the Adirondack Club & Resort project in 2012. The project has been in the works since 2004.

It includes renovating Big Tupper Ski Area; creating 366 housing units, including the 35 so-called great camps; a 60-room hotel; a marina; and more on 6,253 acres. Over 5,000 acres would be retained as open space.

The Appellate Division indicated there was substantial evidence to support APA's approval of the project.

"The court found the APA had established an extensive record thorough its review process... a multi-year adjudicatory hearing, numerous mediation sessions, public informational meetings and a carefully conducted staff review process," the APA says.

The project order and 14 permits for the Adirondack Club and Resort contain many conditions intended to limit any negative environmental impacts of this project.

     

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