Congratulations on the July/August article “Future of Open Space.” It is indeed time for a review of the Adirondack Park Agency’s work over the last forty years, especially now that it seems to have totally lost its bearings, ignoring the most important and basic purposes of its enabling legislation.
Building must be stopped on lands classified as Resource Management, the most protective classification, offset with a tight variance procedure and a sound transferable-development rights (TDR) program. The time is ripe for such a TDR program.
Rural Use, the second-most-restrictive classification, must also be rezoned, hopefully by local-government officials after approval by the APA, so that appropriate portions are made Low Intensity Use and the remainder made Resource Management—all as originally planned in1973.
The concept of transferable-development rights is gaining support rapidly. Environmentalists and those citizens with development interests can work together more cordially with such a tool in place.
As to the comments implying that a declining population has taken much of the demand off Adirondack open space, we must be careful. Population will not always decline, and our concern is for the future. Just because there may be a slight decline in the permanent population should not suggest that the development pressure is lessening for seasonal homes. Seasonal homes have always been the real threat as they tend to be in the backcountry and on shorelines, our two most threatened resources.
George D. Davis, Portland, OR
Davis was the executive director of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the 21st Century.