Disturbing trend in APA boathouse restrictions

Meanwhile, the agency has apparently ramped up its efforts to remake or create rules and regulations, many of which are intended to eliminate or reduce man-made objects from view.

Since 2005, the APA has created or significantly updated about 10 new regulations, often reinterpreting the State Land Master Plan or the APA Act in the process.

Local officials blame the increase in APA effectiveness on the recent loss of GOP control in the state Senate and a subsequent influence of green groups at the agency.

Even agency officials admit that the last several years has been a time of relatively active regulatory review and reform.

In recent months, the agency has expanded shoreline setback rules to include formerly grandfathered structures, while attempting to narrow the definition of hunting and fishing cabins. This latter initiative was unsuccessful

APA Chairman Curt Stiles said that it is time for agency reform - for the good of the state and local populations.

He said this week that the changes enacted since 2008 under his tenure are meant to clear up an immense amount of ambiguity in the nearly 40-year-old regulations.

The agency currently has three legislative initiatives waiting for state Assembly sponsorship, two of which have garnered general support from local governments. They are the first APA legislative initiatives in 20 years.

As for the newest set of proposed regulations, he argues that the package stems from "good science" and seeks to only limit the damage to in-park waterways.

"What we are trying to protect over the long term in the Adirondacks is water quality," Stiles said. "Disturbances of the riparian buffer is what you are trying to avoid."

Numerous studies have cited vegetative clearing as a sure-fire means of increasing a lake's nutrient load and causing its de-oxygenation, which threatens wildlife.

Stiles noted that the limitations on height and footprint suggested by the agency are based on a park-wide survey of local municipal laws, which vary widely from town-to town.

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