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The iron is hot: Abolish the APA

The year was 1771, and the American colonies united in their refusal to pay taxes imposed by an English Parliament in which they had no representation.

It was this taxation without representation that ultimately laid the groundwork for the American Revolution and our independence as a nation.

Flash forward to 1971 and the organization of the Adirondack Park Agency. Here was a tax-subsidized state agency with absolutely no representation from the people they were charged with regulating.

Sound familiar? Call it regulation without representation.

While the APA Act was later adopted requiring five park residents on the Board of Commissioners, the discontent created in 1971 remained.

Today, it may be stronger than ever.

Fueled by recent media reports of arbitrary enforcement, hypocritical acts, infiltration by environmental groups, jurisdictional disputes, proposed regulations on everything from boathouses to hunting cabins and astronomical fines threatened against those who disobey these edicts - many are saying enough is enough.

The APA needs to be dismantled - and I'm not the only one saying so.

The Glens Falls Post-Star made a similar case in a recent thought-provoking editorial, and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward also just joined the campaign.

"People you would never think would have considered it are now talking about it," Sayward told me in a recent phone interview. "The APA has outlived its usefulness."

The original intent of the agency was not a bad one. The concept was to have a group that could provide tools to local governments so land-use planning was done with the environment in mind.

Former chairman of the Adirondack Park Review Board Joe Rota said that without the APA Act, development would have run rampant in the 1970s.

"In 1973, there was no planning or zoning in many Adirondack towns, the safeguards included in the act were needed," he said.

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