Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters in Ray Brook
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) commissioners wrapped up day one of their regularly scheduled monthly meeting for December at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook and will resume day two of their meeting on Friday, Dec. 16.
The normal monthly meeting agenda for Thursday and Friday is changed to focus on the Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake. The meeting will be webcast live at the APA website. In addition, the public is invited to view the webcast live in Tupper Lake at The Wild Center.
This month the Agency continues its three consecutive monthly meeting cycle to deliberate project 2005-100, the Adirondack Club and Resort. This residential/resort project is proposed for lands in the Town of Tupper Lake, Franklin County. The Board began its review at the Nov. 17-18 meeting. The Board continues its deliberations at the Dec. 15-16 meeting. A decision is expected at the conclusion of the Jan. 19-20, 2012 meeting.
New economic affairs staffer
On Thursday morning, the Full Agency convened with remarks from Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich and Executive Director Terry Martino, who introduced Dan Kelleher as the APA's new special assistant for economic affairs, replacing Stephen Erman, who retired in September 2010. Kelleher was most recently the business development manager at the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District. He joined other APA staffers on the Executive Team during the Adirondack Club and Resort review in December and January.
"It's about time," remarked Commissioner Art Lussi, of Lake Placid, who is the chairman of the APA's Economic Affairs Committee and has been asking the APA for months to hire Erman's replacement.
Adirondack Club and Resort questions
As she began explaining the day's proceedings, Ulrich made it clear that commissioners will continue to seek answers to their questions about the Adirondack Club and Resort in December and January so they can get greater clarity on the many issues.
"Our questions do not end until the process is decided and concluded," Ulrich said.
Today’s meeting will end at 5 p.m. The Board will reconvene on Friday morning at 9 a.m. and conclude its business at 4:30.
Use the following link to access the December mailing materials.
Thursday morning topics
APA commissioners and staff discussed several issues facing the Adirondack Club and Resort during Thursday morning's meeting: the proposed PILOT program (tax breaks for development residents); alternative designs for the project, as proposed during the adjudicatory hearings; wildlife survey and habitat; Cranberry Pond/Tupper Lake Reservoir (used to draw water for snowmaking at the ski area); and use of the ski area.
APA Counsel John Banta reminded commissioners of the key point in regard to the use of the ski area: The renovation and operation of the ski area will only occur if the project sponsor believes the residential sales within the project justify the investment.
The local group ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving Their Economy) will be operating the Big Tupper Ski Area for the third season this winter as part of an agreement with the project sponsor. Banta made it clear that ARISE's ski area management is not related to the project.
As for Cranberry Pond just east of the golf course, commissioners were inquiring about the amount of water that could be drawn out of the reservoir for snowmaking and what impact the beaver dam could have on the pond in case it fails. The pond currently has a capacity of 20 million gallons. Commissioners want to make sure the pond can replenish itself in a timely manner during heavy snowmaking days. Amphibian mortality could result if the water level is drained so low that it exposes the hibernating animals during the winter.
Commissioners did not get into specifics about alternative designs for the project that were filed during the adjudicatory hearings. They did ask about how to approach the alternative designs in regard to their deliberations. The short answer is that the alternatives are conceptual, not detailed; therefore, they had not gone through the review process like the project that is currently on the table from the sponsors.
"You don't redesign the project at the table. The suggestions are on the record nonetheless," Banta said. "The Agency does look at alternatives. It just has a different process of getting there."
Thursday afternoon topics
APA staff on the Executive Team -- including Banta, Rick Weber, Ed Snizek and Sarah Reynolds -- explained a number of topics for commissioners based on the hearings:
● Overall Intensity Guidelines
● Residential Structure Locations, Footprints, and Heights/Non Residential Structure Locations, Footprints and Heights
● Building Color, Outdoor Lighting, Resort Signage
● Planting Plans
● Energy Use and Conservation
● Grading and Limits of Vegetative Clearing
● Organizational Arrangements
● Property Owners Association/Declaration of Protective Covenants
● Non-Homeowner Association Lots
● Great Camp Lots
● Visual/Open Space Protection
● Forest Management Plan
100-mile radius condition
During the Energy Use and Conservation discussion, commissioners and designees were overwhelmingly in support of getting rid of a condition that required labor and building materials for the Adirondack Club and Resort to come within a 100-mile radius. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of the project. While all were in favor of hiring local people, most Board members said the provision should be a discussion point rather than a condition. Making it a requirement placed the Agency in a position of enforcing the 100-mile radius, said Judy Drabicki, Department of Environmental Conservation designee and DEC Region 6 director.
"I think it's dangerous (to approve conditions) that you know from the get-go are unenforceable," Drabicki said, adding that this condition is merely a "feel-good provision."
"I think you're probably right," said Ulrich, of Old Forge.
"It's ridiculous," said Commissioner Frank Mezzano, of Speculator.
"It's nice, but it's just not practical," Lussi said.
"I think we ought to get rid of it altogether," said Commissioner Cecil Wray, of New York City.
The only person on the 11-member Board who voiced approval for the 100-mile radius condition was Dierdre Scozzafava, Department of State designee and deputy secretary of state.
"I'm not changing my mind," Scozzafava said.
After discussing the issue during a break, Drabicki said the Agency could require the developer to meet with local trade union representatives or list job openings locally or with the state Department of Labor before hiring employees to work on the project.
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.
See a map of existing landowners around the project.
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 applicant proposes to undertake the project in four phases over 15 years. The Adirondack Club is being marketed as an Orvis Sporting Lifestyle Community.
See the Project Description (PowerPoint slide show) from the APA.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE ADIRONDACK CLUB AND RESORT?
Leave a comment below. Are in favor of the Adirondack Club Resort? Are you against the project? Why?