Farmer seeks legal fees from APA

No further appeal

The Attorney General's office had until 5 p.m. on Aug. 17 to request another appeal, but declined to do so. The motion for legal fees had the same deadline, but was filed Aug. 13.

"The state will not appeal the Appellate Division ruling regarding the Lewis Family Farm," stated APA spokesman Keith McKeever. "The Adirondack Park Agency believes the impact of the court's decision is limited because of the nature of the case."

But advocates of Lewis Family Farm disagree, including the New York Farm Bureau, which submitted a brief supporting the farm. The organization had urged the state not to pursue an appeal following Judge Meyer's decision.

"We are grateful to Governor Paterson for recognizing that pursuit of this case was not in the continued public interest," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau. "This case was an important precedent for the rights of our farmers to conduct basic agricultural practices within the Adirondack Park, which is why we fought so vigorously for the Lewis family."

Although the case was strictly about farmworker housing, Privitera said, it sent a "clear signal" the APA needs to follow the law the way it's written; not the way they interpret it.

'A rogue agency'

"We fought this case because somewhere along the line, somebody's got to draw a line in the sand and tell the APA, 'You're off the reservation, you're a rogue agency and you need new management'" said Lewis, who has long blamed APA administration for stifling the viability of Adirondack communities. "We need the APA, but not this APA."

Lewis called for the resignation of top APA officials, including APA chairman Curt Stiles, legal counsel John Banta, and enforcement program supervisor Paul Van Cott.

Privitera said the APA was motivated by personal animus in its suit against the farm and misguided in it's attempt to hinder farm development, arguing viable farms protect open space.

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