APA gets 56 comments in less than a week
By Gwendolyn Craig
Initial public feedback about a luxury resort proposal in the town of Jay along the Ausable River is largely negative, records from the Adirondack Park Agency show. A comment period announced on Monday has so far collected 56 electronic responses, and three quarters of them are against the development.
Miami-based developer Eric Stackman, who owns more than 350 acres in the area, submitted his concept for one of the largest subdivision projects the APA has reviewed. The development would house 72 hotel rooms, mansions, a villa and townhomes, according to the proposal. The luxury resort community would be a 23-minute drive to Whiteface Mountain and close to other outdoor recreational venues and High Peaks trailheads.
The APA invited the public to comment on the first part of Stackman’s submission to the agency’s large-scale subdivision application earlier this week. The agency will collect comments until Dec. 3 on the initial project site information and conceptual designs.
On Friday, the APA released the first batch of public comments received. More than 40 people wrote in opposition to the project while about five gave a thumbs up. A few commenters lacked a firm stance or posed questions to the agency and the developer.
Comments on the plan may be submitted to Devan Korn, Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or to https://apa.ny.gov/Hearings/ApaCommentPopup.cfm?ProjectNumber=2021-0248.
Ketih McKeever, a spokesman for the APA, said Stackman’s application will evolve. Public comments collected during this initial period will provide Stackman feedback, he said. It is also an opportunity “for the public to provide pertinent information relative to the preparation of plans and application materials before the applicant invests significant time and resources into final plans,” McKeever added.
ACCESS THE APPLICATION: Check out the full application submitted to the APA
Those against the project are generally concerned about its impact on the environment and its potential to change the rural nature of the town. Several wrote that they would prefer to see affordable housing instead of luxury estates, or as Craig Brashear, of Au Sable Forks, described “more playgrounds for the wealthy.”
Lyn Ellen Burkett, of North Carolina, wrote that she has lived in St. Lawrence County, New York and in several Florida counties over the years.
“In Florida, similar developments have led to urban sprawl, geological problems including sinkholes and saltwater intrusion (in aquifers), and serious problems with wildlife (e.g., alligators) encroaching on residential areas,” Burkett wrote. “Please don’t destroy the beautiful North Country the way most of Florida’s natural beauty has been destroyed.”
Many of the comments came shortly after the Adirondack Explorer published a Monday story about the project. Several opponents used quotes made by Stackman in that article about how he had considered building in Colorado and how he would bring amenities to the Jay area. Commenter Rebecca Laufer, of Crown Point, wrote “Where he says ‘There’s not much going on there, that’s where I come in’ … Bro, it’s the mountains, we don’t want a lot ‘going on’ here.”
Other commenters pointed to history, and how the proposed 719-unit Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake never came to fruition.
“Where is the proof that this won’t be another abandoned property in 15 years with a completely deteriorating infrastructure leaving the people who live in Jay and have enjoyed it for years with the price to pay,” wrote Joseph Gedeiko Jr., of Blauvelt.
Those in support of Stackman’s plans felt the project could bring a much needed economic boost to the community. Some wrote they were generally in support, but they would like to see more information including stormwater runoff plans and drawings for septic and drinking water systems.
Neighbors to the project site also wrote to the agency giving their full support.
“Au Sable Forks, and its residents, needs all the help it can get,” wrote Jennifer Stanton, who lives north of the project in the town of Peru. “It’s a beautiful area in need of revitalization so that more people can enjoy the beautiful Adirondacks. Done correctly, this will be a wonderful new addition to the area.”