The size and allowable development density within Adirondack towns were primarily determined in the early 1970s as part of the creation of the Adirondack Park Agency.
And as towns officials look to expand their allowable density and home-rule authority, they are required to petition the APA for amendments to the zoning map - often as part of a comprehensive plan process.
But as with so many contentious issues in the park, the give and take between local government and the APA, combined with ingrained local fear of the agency, the process of negotiating more development is often doomed.
Dr. Richard Lamb, professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, acts as liaison between the APA and town officials seeking map amendments and hamlet expansion.
Provisions in the APA Act allow towns to request map amendments to change the land-use categories, based on criteria set by Agency policy, he said.
Over the past several months, the proposed map amendments of three communities have been stalled after public outcry against the projects.
"So what we have done here is develop proposals that we felt were approvable and put them in front of the public," he said. "As it turns out, the public doesn't want any of them, so be it. That's the way it goes."
In 2006, the town of Minerva petitioned the agency to expand its two hamlets. Town officials said that it would allow for commercial development and the construction of affordable housing.
Minerva Supervisor Mike McSweeney said the proposal was shot down in his town.
"I think that it didn't turn out exactly they way the people in town thought it would," McSweeney said. "What happens is that the APA makes you give up density to gain density. In a lot of cases you are giving up a lot more acreage then you are gaining."
After nearly three years in development, the plan was proposed to the town's citizens in March.
The fact that the APA proposal would have downgraded over 3,000 acres to more restrictive density designations, while 1,445 would have been upgraded - roused the local public and defeated the project.
The lands that would have been downgraded are located well outside of the hamlets, pursuant to the APA's mandated goal of channeling development to hamlet areas while limiting development in wild forests.
But for property owners located outside of the hamlet, the downgrades represent a devaluation of the land as they reduce the number of lots that a plot could be subdivided into.
Similar instances where map amendments have stalled after negative local reaction have recently occurred in Inlet and Johnsburg.
Following intense public outcry against the Johnsburg proposal, Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed has spent much of the week distancing himself and the town from the plan.
Johnsburg petitioned for the changes during the administration of former Johnsburg supervisor and current local APA Commissioner Bill Thomas.
Each proposed zoning revision was at the request of the town.
But for Lamb, the literal give-and-take is simply how the process works, and it is designed around the concept of limiting uncontrolled development.
"Instead of just having rural sprawl all over through the mountains, which would result in a highly developed area all over the mountains, the plan was to channel growth into specific hamlet areas," Lamb said. "The whole plan was designed to promote growth into the hamlet areas."
The town of Warrensburg is currently in the process of creating a comprehensive plan and hamlet expansion is one of the town's top priorities.
Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said recently that increased restrictions on outlying properties are expected.
"We're going to reach out to them; they aren't going to come to us. We will have to reach out and try to negotiate the best deal for our people," Geraghty said. "What we have to avoid is undue 'take' when we decide to do it."