APA seeks public comment on FrontStreet project

NORTH CREEK Of the 14 people who spoke during the APA's public comment meeting Wednesday, March 12 on the proposed development for Ski Bowl Park, only the representatives of two environmental groups voiced opposition. Dan Plumley of the Association to Protect the Adirondacks, and Michael Washburn of the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks both urged the APA to hold further hearings on FrontStreet Mountain Development 's (FSMD) plans, which include, among other projects, luxury hotels, townhomes, single family dwellings and a nine-hole golf course. This project was designed to be wasteful, Washburn said. This is excess of the first order. FrontStreet's plan, which, if approved, will be completed in phases over the course of several years. If fully realized, Ski Bowl Village will consist of two, 40-room luxury hotels; a 34-room inn; a 60-room inn; a 120-room hotel; a restaurant with seating for 150; a private lodge; 131 townhouse units; 18 single-family dwellings; and equestrian center for use by residents; a spa and fitness center; artists studio; workforce houseing; golf course; and wastewater treatment plant. Johnsburg Town Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed has been involved in negotiations with FrontStreet from the beginning. Bringing the mountain (Gore) to the village is the dream, Goodspeed said. This project is complicated, grey... and necessary. It's time to make a decision, Goodspeed continued. No more review is needed. The future is in our hands. Change is inevitable, Gore Mt. Region Chamber of Commerce President Ed Milner said. We're strongly in favor of this. We need to move forward, not back. APA officials told the nearly 100 people in attendance that many agreements between several entities are integral parts of the plan. For example, FSMD an the town of Johnsburg have several agreements, including a land exchange which gives the town ownership of ski trails at Little Gore. In turn, the town has agreements with ORDA, which will maintain and manage the trails and build and operate a ski lodge. FSMD also has an agreement with the North Creek Water District and the North Creek Volunteer Fire Company. FrontStreet already has upgraded on of the water district's wells and will build another, and will purchase a ladder truck and for the fire company. Johnsburg Emergency Squad President Joe Connelly was non-committal, but said if the development moves forward, he's hoping FrontStreet will help his organization meet the growing demand for its services. Peter Wohl, vice president of Warren County Economic Development said the impact of FSMD's project will go beyond North Creek. The county needs to be a four-season destination, Wohl said. This project will bring economic growth both short-term and long-term. It will improve the quality of life not just in North Creek, but for all of Warren County. Long-term benefit also was on Goodspeed's mind. I grew up here, went away, and came back, he said. I want North Creek to be a place my children not only want to come back to, I want them to be able to come back. Public comment on the project will be accepted by the APA until March 20. The topic will be on the Agency's April agenda.

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