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Balanced representation is critical on the APA board

This unraveling of the Adirondack cultural fabric was predicted a quarter-century ago by Anthony D'Elia, a developer and property rights activist from Franklin County in his book,"The Adirondack Rebellion."

He saw the Adirondack Park Agency's slow expansion of regulatory power as threatening the culture of the Adirondacks and the viability of its local economies.

This view is held by many Adirondackers who have watched the APA expand its jurisdiction, choking out traditional business and manufacturing enterprises. The Agency, they observe, has reserved more and more land for wilderness or restricted it so severely that most development options are prohibited.

We at Denton Publications believe this distressing decline in Adirondack rural culture can be at least partially attributed to overzealous state regulation.

While preserving the environment and wild character of the Adirondacks is a laudable objective, it can go too far - particularly when the regulations spur development of expensive personal retreats for the wealthy, while hampering the very survival of year-round working-class residents.

These trends have been boosted, perhaps unwittingly, by environmentalists who have served on the APA Board of Commissioners.

Now, three of the eight APA commissioners are former heads of environmental advocacy groups that have been aligned with anti-development objectives.

Many believe that three is already too many environmental advocates for a reasonable balance.

Now Peter Hornbeck, a director of an environmental advocacy group, has been nominated for the seat on the APA Board of Commissioners to replace Art Lussi. The nomination is under review by the state Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

Hornbeck currently sits on the board of directors for Protect the Adirondacks and is a former chairman of the Residents Committee for the Protection of the Adirondacks.

The nomination has prompted objections from local officials, citing an increased imbalance between APA board members favoring environmental objectives over development and economic growth.

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