TUPPER LAKE — New York Appellate Division, Third Department issued a decision on July 3 to uphold the approvals by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) for the 6,000-acre Adirondack Club and Resort project. Protect the Adirondacks filed a lawsuit with 29 allegations to challenge the legality of the approvals in March 2012.
Peter Bauer, Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks, was disappointed by the decision.
“This is a great loss for the Adirondack Park and the Adirondack Park Agency because it sets a precedent for forest fragmentation across the Adirondacks and codifies for the first time in 40 years of APA history that the APA Act is to be reduced to mere guidance and not law,” Bauer said.
The director of the environmental group said he believed the decision could mark a point of no return in the history of the park.
“This follows a series of highly political decisions regarding Forest Preserve management and private land development in the Adirondacks,” Bauer said. “Many saw this project as shaping the future of Tupper Lake; PROTECT always saw this project and lawsuit as shaping the future of the Adirondack Park.”
Protect the Adirondacks is reviewing its options for the next steps. The Adirondack Club & Resort Project must now finalize its approvals and secure final permits with the APA, obtain permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation and Army Corp of Engineers, and obtain approvals from the Attorney General’s Office before moving forward.
The North Country Chamber of Commerce applauded the decision.
“It was always clear, after years of review and a 10-1 vote, that this project had been thoroughly vetted,” said Garry Douglas, president of the chamber. “The courts have now affirmed that and hopefully the developers can finally proceed on this economically transformational project for Typper Lake and the entire region without further delaying tactics.”
Jim LaValley, chairman of ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving Their Economy), also cheered the decision.
“The ruling by the panel of judges continues to show that all procedures and review were done according to the APA Act and the Adirondack Club project does not rise to the level of having an undue adverse impact,” LaValley said. “This demonstrates the strong support for the Adirondack Club and the community of Tupper Lake.”
Continuing, LaValley said he hoped Protect the Adirondacks would “accept the ruling and allow the community of Tupper Lake to move forward, without further frivolous action. The community, the ACR investors, and the region have shown that they want this project to move forward, and that it is the right project, at the right time.”
APA Executive Director Terry Martino said she appreciated the validation of her organization’s process.
“We strongly believed our review resulted in permits which were conditioned to avoid any negative environmental or community impacts,” Martino said. “I am very proud of the outstanding work completed by agency staff to address critical environmental concerns and ensure the necessary safeguards are in place.”
According to an APA press release, development of the Adirondack Club and Resort is projected to last 15 years. “The developers plan to construct 206 single family dwellings, 125 multifamily dwellings and a 60 room inn,” the release said. “Plans also include redevelopment of a marina and the refurbishment of the Big Tupper Ski Area including ski lodge, ski lift and ski trail improvements.”