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Representatives file appeal on Nov. 2007 ruling

TUPPER LAKE Two organizations and at least 30 landowners filed an appeal last week on a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said the rezoning of more than 6,200 acres of land was exempt from review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR). The landowners along with representatives from the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks filed the appeal with the Appellate Division, Third Department in Albany. Hon. David Demarest handed down the November 2007 decision. According to a statement released last week, the appeal claims the Town of Tupper Lake failed to subject the rezoning of land belonging to the Adirondack Club and Resort to an adequate environmental evaluation. Local Law No. 2, passed in the beginning of 2006, did not require the 6,000-plus acres to be rezoned, as town officials designated it a Type II Action which says that properties totalling less than 25 acres are not subject to rezoning. According to SEQR, the law should have been passed as a Type I Action, which demands that any property over 25 acres should be rezoned. The statement asserts that town officials made no effort to contact the appropriate agencies that would normally be needed to assess a property in accordance with Type I Action. According to David Gibson, executive director for the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, the parties involved with the appeal have filed a lawsuit and are requesting that the Appellate Division reverse Demarests original decision. If the appeal is approved, the Town of Tupper Lake would have to disregard Local Law No. 2 and its SEQR decision. We enter this appeal because the Town failed to faithfully comply with the law, said Gibson. The proposed Adirondack Club and Resort, if built as planned, will have vast regional as well as local impacts on the Town and Village of Tupper Lake. Given this, we simply must expect that a local government will do everything required by law to subject a rezoning that facilitates such a proposal to proper scrutiny. Michael Washburn, executive director of the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks, noted that the Adirondack Park Agency should not be expected to take on the responsibilities of local government. The role of the APA in this project does not replace town governments obligations to evaluate impacts on this community and its environment, said Washburn. The statement also noted that in August 2006, the Hudson Group, the towns consultant, advised officials not to rezone until Preserve Associates the propertys owners had met conditions related to on-site wastewater treatment, market research, fiscal impacts and impacts on neighbors, traffic and parking. A joint town-village Planning Board endorsed each recommendation and subsequently forwarded them to the Town Board. The organizations and property owners filing the appeal will be represented by John Caffry of Caffry & Flower, Attorneys at Law, Glens Falls.

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