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Clear-cut shoreline sparks dispute

A letter from acting APA enforcement director Mark Sengenberger issued on June 5 instructed Lever that his clear-cutting, excavation and construction of a retaining wall on the property were believed to be in violation of shoreline restrictions and inconsistent with the development approved by the town planning board.

The APA asked Lever to refrain from any further work on the property "until this matter has been resolved and the enforcement case concluded." It stressed that Lever should take appropriate action to ensure erosion control in the meantime.

"We sent a letter asking the property owner to stop his construction at this time," said APA spokesman Keith McKeever, "and he agreed to do so."

"This request was not necessary, as Mr. Lever has been compliant," said Privitera. "The request has surely been honored."

According to McKeever, Westport has the authority to issue permits for any Class B building projects because the town has an APA-approved local land use program. It also has a significant amount of jurisdiction in enforcing those permits, he said.

In this case, however, the town sought assistance from the APA in reviewing the site and making a determination for enforcement.

"The town board is of the opinion that the building permit issued by the town has been violated," said Westport Supervisor Daniel Connell.

A resolution passed at the June 9 Westport Town Board meeting said the board supports the APA "proceeding with enforcement action, if necessary, to rectify the violations involved with this project."

Though APA and town officials won't comment on just what they determine to be in violation on Lever's property, it's clear that some people are not pleased with what has occurred there.

"It certainly is the poster child on how not to develop a lakeside lot in the Adirondacks," said Keith Giles, who owns the property just east of Lever's and has taken exception to his use of the land.

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