Press-Republican

Environment

September 27, 2012

Big Tupper skiing shelved; lawsuit blamed

TUPPER LAKE — Big Tupper Ski Area will not open this winter. 

The grassroots group Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving our Economy (ARISE) said they lost investment resources to reopen the ski center this season because of a lawsuit filed against developers who own the mountain property. 

“The Article 78 created a pause in everything,” Adirondack Residents Chairman Jim LaValley said in an interview Wednesday.

“They basically have cut the legs out from our being able to get funding for this season.”

This winter would have been Big Tupper’s fourth year of volunteer-based operation.  

'SHOULD BE ASHAMED'

ARISE had obtained an Adirondack Park Agency permit to run the ski center for the past three seasons while permitting and adjudication proceedings for the Adirondack Club and Resort development continued.

Big Tupper is owned by partners of the resort project, whose lead developers are Michael Foxman and Tom Lawson.

But Protect the Adirondacks, the Sierra Club and several Tupper Lake neighbors filed an Article 78 lawsuit charging, among some 30 counts, that APA did not complete wildlife studies before granting resort permits and that APA staff violated hearing rules in communicating with the resort developers after formal hearing testimony closed.

The tersely worded statement from ARISE says the legal action dissuaded outside investors. It accuses Protect the Adirondacks and its attorneys of using law as a weapon against the project.

“The board and membership of Protect and the Sierra Club should be ashamed at the way they have chosen to attack a community by using Article 78 lawsuits in a frivolous manner and as a weapon against a project that was approved by the (APA) commissioners with a (10-to-1) vote after eight years of review,” the ARISE statement said.

OFFERS DISCUSSION

Peter Bauer is now executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, having regained the reins of what is partially a realigned environmental group that he left in 2007.

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