Local officials scrutinizing

The Municipal Planning Fund Bill would raise funds for local communities to conduct planning studies and bankroll creation of local comprehensive and master plans. But a sticking point occurred when funding was to be dependent on fees for permits applications on minor projects like the construction of a one-family home. But listening to objections raised by local residents, the APA changed their proposed bill, calling for funding to be supplied by permit fees linked to more substantial projects, McKeever said.

Another concern for local officials is a provision in the third proposed bill - which deals APA operations - that would eliminate the some of the public hearings now required during a building application and review process.

APA officials said the bill would streamline the way the agency does business and allow agency staff to give each project its due diligence.

The Agency Reform Bill would increase the amount of time the agency has to review a project from 60 to 90 days.

Local officials have seen the first proposal as a way the agency can make it easier to bypass local concerns, and the latter measure as causing additional delay to proposed developments..

The first two bills are linked with issues that are top concerns of local government officials - who say residents are suffering under a burden of unfunded state mandates, and that the second-home market is raising housing costs to exorbitant levels unattainable to park residents.

Sayward said this week the APA Reform Bill still needs more work.

"There has always been a bone of contention in the Adirondacks among the local people that their voices aren't heard," she said.

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