APA not protecting sensitive lands

Kudos to the Explorer for knowing what’s important. The March/April issue devoted three full pages to the impending regulatory tsunami that threatens to wipe out the protections we’ve assumed were in place for Resource Management lands in the Park.

The first wave hit a few years ago with approval of the sprawling Adirondack Club and Resort on over six thousand acres in Tupper Lake. Now, the Woodworth Lake subdivision in the southern Adirondacks follows in its wake.

While not the worst development plan I’ve seen in my years as a land-use planner, the APA-approved layout for Woodworth Lake is not nearly good enough for the wildest of private lands in the Park.

Other than several short intervals, the development sites are strung out from one end of the 1,100-acre tract to the other, effectively bisecting the property. The plan almost entirely divides the land up into building lots, thereby elevating residential to the primary, not secondary, use of the land. The fragmented ownership pattern makes cohesive management of these Resource “Management” lands next to impossible.

The APA’s regulations, by stipulating that residential development be in “small clusters” or on “substantial acreages,” give the agency all it needs to do a better job. Instead, in both cases the APA has made the least, not the most, of this “guidance.” It’s time to amend the regulations so the intent of the framers cannot be ignored.

Jeff Lacy, Shutesbury, MA

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