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Review board takes a stand on call to abolish APA

The Local Government Review Board does not believe that the APA should be abolished. We do believe that the APA needs to be reined in and its governing Act revised. Very clear evidence of this need is seen in recent cases where the Adirondack Park Agency threatened or attempted an enforcement action that was dropped or overturned: the Sandy Lewis farm worker housing case, the Leroy Douglas "wetlands" road case, the John Maye case about whether his house was illegally built on an existing foundation - which drew heated opposition in Lake George and other Adirondack communities and was widely reported in all Adirondack media - is more evidence of an agency overstepping its bounds. The APA is an administrative agency trying to act like a legislative body - attempting to create law and then enforce that law when it doesn't have the legal right to do so.

• We believe that the primary issue in the Adirondacks, as it has been for 20 years or more, is that so much of the state's focus has been on land acquisition that any effort to encourage and protect the economic lives of the communities has been cast aside. The recent Adirondack Park Regional Assessment project Report bore this all out: The decline in school enrollment is steeper and the median age of the population is rising more rapidly than elsewhere. Household incomes are lower than in much of New York State. Sparse populations and regulatory practices have contributed to a lag in private sector investment in businesses, most notably in lack of broadband communication and data transfer infrastructure. The park-wide loss of private sector jobs has been somewhat offset temporarily by job increases in public health care, education and government employment. The creation of permanent jobs that pay living wages and provide benefits on which a family can depend is the most fundamental need in Adirondack communities. While jobs are needed in every community in New York State, few other communities' economic deterioration is so closely associated with the state's as the communities of the Adirondack Park.

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