By Tim Rowland
Long Lake businessman George Carrothers told Town Board members Wednesday night that he will not fight an Adirondack Park Agency directive to tear out a lakeside deck at his bake shop, nor will he close a popular causeway to the public.
Carrothers said a threat to restrict public access to the promenade in response to the APA’s directive was made in the heat of the moment to draw attention to the situation. “The property will still be available to the public, and we’ll deal with the APA from there,” he said.
The board thanked Carrothers for leaving the causeway open. “We’ve been good partners with George,” said Supervisor Clay Arsenault.
About 100 people a day stroll along the Jennings Pond causeway in the summer, Carrothers estimated, and it’s used by the town for fireworks and kids’ fishing tournaments.
The dispute with the APA involved the size and orientation of a deck at Another Paradise Cove, an outfitter and bakery Carrothers owns with his business partner Stacy Pagoda. The APA said it was too large and too close to the water, but Carrothers said he thought the two parties had reached a compromise for a smaller deck that would be acceptable, which he went ahead and built. The APA thought otherwise and fined Carrothers $28,500, suspending all but $1,500 of it on the condition that the deck would be removed by Nov. 1.
READ MORE: In Long Lake, a deck dispute prompts landowner to push back
Carrothers said he initially thought the causeway would provide some leverage, particularly if rank and file residents and visitors who used it pressured the agency to reconsider. But after giving it some thought, he said it seemed unlikely the tactic would work. “No individual can take on the APA, and this is not a fight I want to fight,” he said.
Angry at APA
But several meeting attendees were not as willing to let the APA off the hook, and criticized the agency for throwing its weight around when dealing with individuals unable to fight back, while kowtowing to people with money and power.
They noted that the Cuomo administration failed to appoint a strong permanent chair to the board, a position that has been open since the resignation of Karen Feldman in 2019, and had otherwise deprived the park of needed resources and order.
“Cuomo really neglected the Adirondacks for quite some time,” said Jack Carney, a local resident and health care advocate.
Carney said Forever Wild is important, but so is the right of the people to thrive. By creating a park comprised of public and private lands, “there is an implicit acknowledgement that people who live here need to have some way to make a living,” he said.
A historic, strategic property
Another Paradise Cove has a storied history; the building has served a number of purposes over the better part of the past century, but was initially built as the Island Snack Bar. The causeway, which separates Long Lake from Jennings Pond, was built under a Depression-era work program and led to the grand Sagamore Hotel, which was torn down in 1960.
One of the most strategically located properties in Long Lake, Another Paradise Cove sits at the head of the causeway, and across the street from the town beach. Carrothers and Pagoda have envisioned Another Paradise Cove as a service for those enjoying the public facilities.
It almost wasn’t so. When it was up for sale, Pagoda said Realtors showed the property to people considering it as a private residence.
That would have divided the beach and causeway. “To me, that property has to stay commercial,” she said. “There is no way we would take away from the public’s enjoyment — our intentions for that property are pure and good.”
Residents said they would be willing to engage in letter-writing and petition campaigns against the APA action, but Pagoda said, “The best way you can help is just to know that the property is in the best hands it could be in.”
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“But after giving it some thought, he said it seemed unlikely the tactic would work. “No individual can take on the APA, and this is not a fight I want to fight,” he said.”
People interested in fighting the APA should note the case of “Sandy” Lewis in Essex about a decade ago. He fought the APA, and the APA LOST! So it isn’t impossible.
“Carney said Forever Wild is important, but so is the right of the people to thrive. By creating a park comprised of public and private lands, “there is an implicit acknowledgement that people who live here need to have some way to make a living,” he said.”
I agree – but we all need to be playing by the same rules. I have limits on what I can do on my property, and I knew that when I bought the property. The regulations seemed and still seam reasonable to me. Variances are possible, but they do need to be obtained – in writing – first. Hopefully the days of back room, off-the-record deals will be declining, based on the recent DEC lawsuit outcome. Keep everything on the record.