By Gwendolyn Craig
This article has been updated with public attendance information provided by the Adirondack Park Agency.
Two development projects and an enforcement proceeding are on the Adirondack Park Agency’s agenda for Thursday at its first in-person meeting in more than a year. The meeting will begin at 12 p.m. and is slated to end at 4:15 p.m.
The board has been meeting remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, as most public bodies have. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s issued state of emergency has ended, thus the public may once again attend the APA’s meeting held at its Ray Brook headquarters.
A press release the agency issued on July 9 stated that “In accordance with new Health and Safety Guidelines, the Board will meet in-person. While there will be limited public seating capacity at the Ray Brook headquarters, the public can also attend the meeting by accessing the live Webcast event.” To watch remotely, go to https://apa.ny.gov/.
The APA’s agenda also states that public attendance will be limited and comments may continue to be submitted via email to [email protected]. The agenda also states that it “encourages public comment that will assist us in improving our practices, procedures and our responsibility to the public. However, to promote fundamental fairness, and in consideration of the substantial time available for written comment, the practice of the Agency is to exclude public comment on matters pending decision until the conclusion of Agency business.”
Kristin O’Neill, assistant director for the state Committee on Open Government, said a section of Open Meetings Law requires that public bodies make “reasonable efforts to ensure that meetings are held in an appropriate facility which can adequately accommodate members of the public who wish to attend such meetings.”
Keith McKeever, spokesperson for the APA, responded Wednesday to Adirondack Explorer’s email request and after this original article was published, that the health and safety guidelines the APA was referring to were the guidance the Centers for Disease Control and New York posted here: coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.
McKeever said there will be nine seats at the meeting for vaccinated members of the public and three seats for non-vaccinated members of the public.
“We will also have additional space for any over flow capacity at the DEC Region 5 conference building,” McKeever added in an email.
It’s not clear, too, if any announcement will be made about a new chair of the agency. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office told Adirondack Explorer that he would appoint a chair in the “near future.”
The APA’s regulatory programs committee will examine two development projects, one in Franklin County and the other in Essex County.
The Franklin County project in the hamlet of Harrietstown involves the construction two buildings. One is a 3,000-square-foot, 47-feet tall office and residential building. The other, in the same area, is a 17,100-square-foot 56-feet-high residential building. The smaller builder will have six residential units and the larger will have 63 units. Both will have on-site parking, pedestrian access and vehicle access from Broadway and Depot streets and will be served by municipal water and sewer.
The Essex County project is in both hamlet and moderate intensity use in the Town of North Elba. It involves the construction of six, two-bedroom, single-family dwellings and four multi-family dwellings, according to the APA’s agenda. The project will be built on Wesvalley Road. There will be parking for 36 vehicles. The building will be served by municipal water, sewer and electric.
Both projects are slated to be approved with conditions, according to the agenda.
The enforcement committee is also set to meet on an alleged shoreline setback violation in the Town of Long Lake in Hamilton County.
The matter involves resident George Carrothers. APA violation records allege that Carrothers built a deck within the shoreline setback of his lot on Jennings Pond. APA staff are requesting that the board require Carrothers to remove the deck and be fined $500 per day for each day the violation has continued.