APA loses court fight

A state appellate court has ruled against the Adirondack  Park Agency in its battle with an Essex farmer who constructed worker homes on his property without an APA permit.

The APA had levied a $50,000 fine against Lewis Family Farm, owned by Salim “Sandy” and Barbara Lewis. The Lewises contend that farmworker houses are exempt from APA regulations that apply to other single-family homes.

On Thursday, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court ruled 5-0 in the farm’s favor. The court noted that the state constitution and various state laws reflect an intent to encourage agriculture. “Nothing in any of these provisions suggests, as the APA argues, that New York’s strong pro-farming policy should apply differently to farms within the Adirondack Park than to farms elsewhere in the state,” wrote Justice Elizabeth Garry.

APA spokesman Keith McKeever could not be reached Friday. In an Associated Press story, however, he said the agency was reviewing the decision. The APA could ask the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, to take the case.

Click on the hypertext below to read the full decision.

lewis-decision

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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