State Adirondack Park Agency hearings on a controversial resort project in Tupper Lake resumed Tuesday with a blow to an environmental group.
A judge denied a request from Protect the Adirondacks to block key testimony provided by the Adirondack Club & Resort, a 6,000-acre development planned for the Mount Morris ski area in Tupper Lake.
Kevin Frank and Todd Anthony of the LA Group testified on behalf of the resort developers, Preserve Associates; they spoke on issues dealing with wastewater treatment and impacts on wildlife.
Protect the Adirondacks attorney John Caffry filed a motion last week to block their testimony, arguing that the applicant failed to provide him with evidence to support the arguments.
Administrative Law Judge Daniel P. O'Connell denied the motion. He wrote in his ruling that "the applicant either provided additional documents or referenced materials already provided in Protect's discovery demands."
Later in the day, however, O'Connell ruled in favor of another motion by Caffry.
O'Connell admitted into evidence work that the LA Group did for another ski resort, which showed much more thorough analysis than was done for the ACR, according to Protect.
Caffry did not immediately respond to a question about the decisions, but other environmental groups at the hearings said they didn't consider it a major setback in their effort to reshape one of the largest resorts ever proposed in the Adirondacks.
Dan Plumley is a partner at the green group Adirondack Wild.
"We don't consider that a setback because the testimony of the applicant and their so-called experts is fairly insufficient," Plumley said. "It came down to an issue of whether you include rather lackluster testimony or not. But does it matter in the big scale of things in terms of the issues we're addressing? No."
The APA has also supported efforts to keep the testimony, which it says is crucial to its decision on whether to approve the resort.