LONG LAKE - If you thought the Lows Lake saga was over, think again.
Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board Executive Director Fred Monroe is lobbying Governor David Paterson to reject the Adirondack Park Agency's Sept. 11 decision to classify 2,000 acres of lakebed as wilderness.
Earlier this month, the APA Board of Commissioners voted six-to-four to approve the reclassification of recently acquired state land at Lows Lake. The vote effectively designated most of the terrestrial property surrounding the lake as wilderness and reclassified numerous non-conforming structures - such as bridges and access roads - as primitive.
Supporters of the decision say it's an appropriate expansion of zoning regulation. Those who opposed the move are concerned that the agency could make similar changes to the classifications of private land on lakeshores throughout the park.
On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Monroe sent Paterson a letter strongly urging the governor to reject the APA's recommendations regarding Lows Lake.
"I urge you to reject the procedurally flawed and unwise recommendation of the Adirondack Park Agency to classify a portion of the waters of Lows Lake as wilderness," Monroe wrote.
In his letter, Monroe claimed that if approved, the APA's recommendation would establish several bad precedents.
For one, Monroe said the action would "mark the first time that all or any portion of a water body with privately owned shoreline is classified as wilderness."
He also contends that for the first time, a line drawn on a map of a water body would establish different classifications on either side of the line.
Additionally, Monroe said Christopher Walsh, the APA's former Empire State Development designee, should not have been allowed to cast the deciding vote on the matter.
The recommendation needed six votes to pass, and without Walsh's "yes" vote, it would not have carried.
Walsh left his position at Empire State Development - and thus abandoned his post at the APA - in August of this year. That's about one month before the Sept. 11 vote.
"Mr. Walsh was an employee of the governor's office on Sept. 11 when he cast a vote on behalf of Empire State Development," Monroe wrote. "He was not a deputy or other officer of Empire State Development."
The APA saidthe Review Board's concerns about the Lows Lake classification were deliberated fully at the September agency meeting.
"Throughout the classification process, it has been stressed that Lows Lake includes a unique set of circumstances, including state purchase of the lake bed of Lows Lake," the response reads.
And, the APA contends that the water was not divided in a precedent setting fashion. The primitive classification applied to the eastern portion of the lake is a "near-wilderness classification that recognized riparian lake access rights and deeded rights for exclusive use of three state-owned islands during summer months by the Sabattis Camp, Hiawatha Council and Boy Scouts of America."
In regard to Walsh's vote, the APA simply said he continued to be the formal Empire State Development Corporation designee during the September meeting.