Mixed message aids bad development

In looking at the proposal for a sprawling Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake [“Tupper developer perseveres,” November/December 2010], what I support is a redevelopment of the Big Tupper ski slope with a modest cluster of residential construction around the base of the mountain. The application for such a development would be relatively simple and might very well have galloped through the Adirondack Park Agency the first time around.

This, I believe, is the vision that the Adirondack Council supports when its executive director, Brian Houseal, says he has “a mandate” from his board of directors to see that this project gets a permit.

The problem, of course, is that this is not what is on the table.  Developer Michael Foxman has made it clear to many interviewers that without the backcountry home development [spread out over 5,000 acres], redevelopment of the ski slope makes no economic sense.

So, where does this leave us? My concern is that the APA will approve a permit with conditions that do not conform to the intent of the Park’s land-use and development plan. The mountain of information that will have accumulated by the time it goes before the APA commissioners will only serve to intimidate them and prevent them from saying no.
Personally, I put much of the blame at the door of the APA, which has led this developer and the town to believe that the density guidelines for Resource Management in the land-use and development plan constitute a development right. This misconception, in turn, has led to some bizarre discussions about clustering in areas that should be protected for their natural-resource values.

It would be very unfortunate if the council’s statement contributes to confusion on the issues or leaves the impression of a split among environmentalists that the developer could exploit.

-Peter R. Borrelli, Northville

Borrelli is former president of Protect the Adirondacks and chairman/director emeritus of the Adirondack Council.

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