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APA drops claims against Douglas

ELIZABETHTOWN - The Adirondack Park Agency has decided to forego any further action against a man accused of disturbing wetlands on his property near Silver Lake.

LeRoy Douglas said that after more than three years of being scrutinized by the APA, he was astonished when the agency agreed to drop their enforcement action against him at a meeting held Nov. 9.

"It was absolutely an unbelievable scene," he said.

The meeting was a status conference held with DEC Administrative Law Judge Molly T. McBride. APA Enforcement Program Supervisor Paul Van Cott joined Douglas and his attorney, Matt Norfolk of the Lake Placid law firm Briggs & Norfolk, in reviewing the case with the judge..

"The DEC judge said it would be in the best interest of both parties if this proceeding ended," said Norfolk. "We met, and we basically stated we would not settle or compromise."

"I told them I wasn't going to back down," said Douglas, noting that he was prepared to sell some of his properties in order to fund a potential lawsuit with the agency. "They have tried everything they could for the past couple weeks to try to get me to settle this, but I refused."

"In response," said Norfolk, "the APA agreed to withdraw the 2007 enforcement proceeding with prejudice," meaning Douglas cannot have similar enforcement action brought against him in the future.

"The agency came to an agreement with Mr. Douglas to remediate wetlands on his property to the satisfaction of the Adirondack Park Agency," said APA spokesman Keith McKeever.

The case arose from an APA claim that Douglas, when repairing a road on his property that passes through a wetland area, illegally widened the road. An enforcement hearing on the matter led to a settlement.

"They asked if he would do some remedial work [to narrow the road], and he agreed," said Norfolk. "We contend he's complied with it."

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