Press-Republican

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November 17, 2013

ADKWorks launches economic preservation challenge

TUPPER LAKE — Concern with economic stagnation has triggered awareness outreach by a new group centered here: ADKWorks.

The outreach has developed a multi-media campaign for television and web viewers, including a petition to support development in Tupper Lake.

Established in conjunction with the New York State Association of Realtors, the project is spending $130,000 to address what organizers point to as destructive challenges in a litigious Adirondack land-use climate.  

“That this is a PAC (political action committee) is rather dismissive,” Jim LaValley, a Tupper Lake Realtor and advocate for local economic growth, said in a recent interview.

The deeper issue, he says, is the method of control deployed by a small number of environmental activists using litigation to hinder economic growth here.

‘STATEWIDE ISSUE’

At its core, the initiative calls attention to an Article 78 challenge brought against the Adirondack Park Agency and developers of the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake.

Club and Resort permits were approved nearly two years ago, in January 2012, by a 10-to-1 APA Board vote.

But two environmental groups, including locally based Protect the Adirondacks, claim the eight-year APA review process was not properly structured and lacked key wildlife studies.

“In my opinion, when you look at the Club and Resort, state regulation by the APA isn’t the issue,” LaValley said. “It is these certain groups that feel they are better at administrating the regulations than the APA.”

The APA Act was established in 1973 to govern the interaction, he said, between state-land preservation and private-land use. 

And APA is tasked with balancing both sides for a common good.

“I really think we’re dealing with a private-property issue here,” LaValley said. “Imagine somebody in Albany who goes through the effort to get their building permits secured and everything ready to put up their house, and a John Doe comes in and says, ‘We think those permits were issued wrong.’

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