Press-Republican

Local News

September 30, 2010

White Paper catches APA fire

KEENE — Members of the Local Government Review Board were stunned by a rebuke from the Adirondack Park Agency.

The writ of contention was delivered in a letter read at the end of their monthly meeting here Wednesday.

WHITE PAPER

In it, APA Chairman Curt Stiles reacted to the tone and tenacity of a White Paper issued by the Review Board last week.

Titled “APA: Under the Influence and in Need of Detoxification,” the 17-page work documents local government views of park regulatory practice, the APA Act and a laundry list of problems borne by local townships and landowners through the APA Act’s tendency to “legislate through regulation.”

Review Board Chairman Fred Monroe sent the White Paper with a cover letter to Gov. David A. Paterson last week.

It worked like tinder on slow-burning tension.

‘EXTREMELY TROUBLED’

Stiles admonished the Review Board through APA spokesman Keith McKeever, who read the letter after nearly two hours of listening and speaking with Review Board members.

“As (APA) chairman, I have earnestly listened to local government issues and honestly tried to work with local officials throughout the park,” Stiles wrote.

“So I am extremely disappointed and troubled by the tone, inaccuracies bordering on fabrication and the inflammatory nature of this document.

“I believe it undermines any and all previous progress and dialogue and breaches the trust and sincere effort to bring about regulatory reform.”

Stiles said that most of the issues referenced in the White Paper “were not regularly, thoroughly or even remotely discussed at (Review Board) meetings.

“I no longer believe that the (Review Board) represents the best interest of local government or even has a reasonable consensus or mandate from individual towns inside the park.”

Stiles ended his response by saying the APA remains committed to regulatory reform.

LIST OF ISSUES

A stunned vacuum of silence afterward filled fast with defensive words.

“Mr. Stiles is incorrect that local government doesn’t appreciate the Review Board,” said George Canon, longtime supervisor of Newcomb and Essex County’s representative to the Review Board.

Monroe listed the litany of issues that have come to bear on local governments, the people of the Adirondack Park and tax rolls in recent years:

 New boathouse regulations.

 Shoreline regulations that are being challenged by 12 counties in state appellate court.

 The APA enforcement program, which the Review Board says oversteps private-property rights.

 The futile struggle to set a statute of limitations on land-use violations.

 Policy-making by private environmental group agenda, another issue currently in federal court.

 A snowmobile plan derailed.

 Potential loss of tax payments on state land.

 The insecure hold Adirondack towns have on the property-tax base.

“I stand by that White Paper and the letter to the governor,” Monroe said.

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