Members of the Adirondack Park Agency Board deliberates on the Adirondack Club and Resort project, proposed for Tupper Lake, during their Jan. 20 meeting.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Jan. 20 approved the controversial Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake with a 10-1 vote.
Before the 11 board members cast their votes — in alphabetical order — they explained why they voted yes or no. Almost all agreed that the review process, which took almost eight years, needed improvement. But that didn’t stop most from approving the resort planned around the Big Tupper Ski Area on Mount Morris.
“People have lost a lot of sleep over this,” said DEC designee Judy Drabicki.
“I’ve agonized over this decision,” said Commissioner Art Lussi. “It’s hard because you have to take sides … I think this plan is very thoughtfully done.”
“This brings the opportunity of economic development to Tupper Lake,” said Commissioner Bill Thomas.
Commissioner Richard Booth was the only one to vote against the project, citing three main reasons: the sponsors failed to provide realistic sales figures; no wildlife inventory was required or completed, and there was no review on how the project would impact wildlife; and the project is not consistent with the APA’s resource management zoning.
“I think these three flaws that I mention have caused me to conclude that this project is not consistent with the plan,” Booth said. “There is an undue adverse impact.”
Here is how the board voted:
•YES: Frank Mezzano (Speculator), moved motion to approve
•YES: Bill Thomas (Johnsburg), seconded motion to approve
•NO: Richard Booth (Ithaca)
•YES: Sherman Craig (Wanakena)
•YES: Judy Drabicki (Department of Environmental Conservation designee)
•YES: Art Lussi (Lake Placid)
•YES: Jen McCormick (Department of Economic Development designee)
•YES: Dierdre Scozzafava (Department of State designee)
•YES: Leilani Ulrich (Old Forge)
•YES: Bill Valentino (Albany)
•YES: Cecil Wray (New York City)
Many residents and businesspeople from Tupper Lake were at the Jan. 20 meeting in support of the project, including Tupper Lake Village Mayor and Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun, Jim LaValley of the ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving Their Economy) group, Mark Moeller of the Tupper Lake Business Community, and David Tomberlin of the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce Board and Tupper Lake Town Board.
“I want Mr. Booth especially to be assured that, as long as I’m mayor, I will do everything I can to make sure that the environmental issues are properly carried out,” Maroun said during the public comment period.
The developers — Preserve Associates —still need to obtain a number of permits from other agencies, including the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation, prior to construction. They will also have to apply for a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) from the Franklin County IDA.
The lead developers — Michael Foxman and Tom Lawson — watched the vote at APA Headquarters in the middle of a audience of 58 people.
The Park Agency’s approval includes a project order and 14 permits for the various project components, which are conditioned to ensure no undue adverse impacts occur as a result of this project. The project sponsors must strictly comply with the New York State Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act for any activities in the Raquette River recreational river area. Deed restrictions will preserve about 4,600 acres of resource management lands on the project site, designed to protect open space and wildlife resources.
About the project
The 2005-100 project application was filed by Preserve Associates, LLC (Sponsor), and Big Tupper, LLC, Tupper Lake Boat Club, LLC, and Oval Wood Dish Liquidating Trust (Landowners) for an Agency permit for a mixed commercial and residential development on the sites of the former Big Tupper Ski Area, former McDonald's Marina and the surrounding Oval Wood Dish lands in the Town of Tupper Lake, Franklin County. The development proposal was first announced in February 2004.
The project site is approximately 6,235± acres of property and includes lands of the former Big Tupper Ski Area, the surrounding Oval Wood Dish landholdings, and the former McDonalds Marina. Most of the site is located east of NYS Route 30, except for the marina and two other small parcels that are located west of Route 30. The site includes about 1,800± feet of frontage on Lake Simond and about 235± feet on Big Tupper Lake at the marina.
The applicant proposes to develop a planned resort development with a ski center, a marina with 40 boat slips, an equestrian facility, a resort owners' clubhouse, a gym/spa recreation center, recreation trails for hiking and cross-country skiing, a 60-unit West Face Inn, and 706 single-family and multiple-family residential dwelling units: 206 single-family dwellings; 39 Great Camps; eight Artist Cabins at the base lodge area of the ski center; and 453 townhouse units (duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes).
The developers plan to undertake the project in four phases over 15 years. The Adirondack Club is being marketed as an Orvis Sporting Lifestyle Community.