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Balanced representation is critical on the APA board

State Sen. Betty Little of Queensbury has observed that Hornbeck has declared he is against development in the Adirondacks, and she noted he has opposed the Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake, which has for years been swamped in negotiations and litigation.

Others have objected that Hornbeck serves on the board of an organization currently suing the APA - for not adopting regulations strict enough to please the preservationists. They say this situation not only represents a potential imbalance on the agency, but it represents a conflict of interest.

Adirondack Park Local Review Board Chairman Fred Monroe is one of those who is alarmed.

He observes that those who authored the original APA act were concerned with balance, calling for representation on the board by both Democrats and Republicans. If the APA's founding fathers were so concerned with political parity, he says, balance between development advocates and environmental preservationists would also be a core goal.

He and Little have both advocated that the state create a policy that bans any leader of an advocacy organization from being appointed to the APA Board of Commissioners. They have both supported legislation that candidates who are nominated for APA Board seats should be chosen from a list prepared by local government officials.

In our view at Denton Publications, such guidelines make sense, particularly the policy of maintaining balance at the APA.

The Adirondack Park Agency is a powerful regulatory body, and its decision-making should have input from citizens with differing viewpoints.

As long as the APA has its broad powers, the agency must maintain a balance between those who advocate sensible development and others who opt for environmental protection.

It's not just a matter of honest, independent representation of the interests of local residents - It goes further.

If our Adirondack culture is to thrive, or even survive, it may just be a necessity.

Thom Randall is editor of the Adirondack Journal. He can be reached at thom@denpubs.com.

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