Maroun reels against anti-resort letter

TUPPER LAKE - A Franklin County legislator is up in arms with a letter recently sent to Adirondack residents by an environmental group.

Paul Maroun, a Republican from Tupper Lake, said a donation request distributed by the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks reveals the group's true intentions regarding the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort, which involves reopening the Big Tupper Ski Area and building hundreds of resort homes on land surrounding Mt. Morris.

The letter, signed by association executive director David Gibson, states the group is going to "continue its fight to stop the Adirondack Club and Resort project at Big Tupper."

Maroun said he's upset because Gibson is part of the mediation group that is attempting to develop a project all sides can live with.

"Now we find out that Mr. Gibson and his group have no intention of mediating," Maroun said. "I don't think that somebody who's from Niskayuna... should be soliciting money from us to stop a project that is going to create jobs and reduce taxes by over 50 percent and help young people come back to the Tupper Lake area and have jobs."

The Adirondack Park Agency sent the project to an adjudicatory hearing two years ago, but before that process could begin, developer Michael Foxman entered mediation with opponents of the project.

Gibson said his organization is not against the project, but has concerns with Foxman's proposal as it stood in 2007.

Dan Plumley, the Association's Director of Park Protection, said mediation is an equal partnership, and that the association's opposition to the 2007 plan is not grounds for removal from the mediation.

"The over-development of the Tupper Lake property, almost 6,000 acres, with very little changes made in the proposal, does not remove our opposition to the project," Plumley said.

But Maroun said environmental groups have demanded too much of Foxman, and risk chasing the developer away for good. The legislator wants Gibson to come forward and state his true intentions.

"I don't want to use the word 'lie' but it's as close to something like that as I've seen, and I've been in government for a long time," Maroun said. "If he doesn't want to mediate and try and help the process, he should resign immediately and shouldn't have held up our time and energy at those mediation sessions."

With one last mediation session scheduled before the APA hearing, Maroun said he doesn't intend to seek Gibson's removal from the process.

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