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Questions on economic viability hover over ACR debate

As the proposed Adirondack Club & Resort enters its final permitting phase, some opponents are questioning the project's economic viability.

Interested parties are gearing up for the upcoming adjudicatory hearings, scheduled to begin next month. Once those hearings are finished, the state Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners has 60 days to decide whether or not to grant developer Michael Foxman a permit.

Earlier this week, members of two regional environmental organizations exchanged salvos with a pair of Tupper Lake organizations that support the ACR project.

Members of ARISE and the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce said Protect the Adirondacks and the Adirondack Council should excuse themselves from the upcoming hearings.

The green groups fired back, saying they have every right to participate in the public process.

Included in that exchange was an argument made by the Adirondack Council that the project lacks the economic footing to even get off the ground.

The group's spokesman, John Sheehan, notes that the Front Street development in North Creek has had construction permits for several years and has only built a speck house so far.

"It is clear to everybody involved that the luxury home market is very flat right now - and if anything, it's been in a period of decline for the last three years," he said. "Until something happens with the economy, the likelihood of starting to find customers for new homes on the ski hill is very, very slim."

Sheehan contends that it hasn't been in Foxman's best interest to bring the application forward more quickly.

He adds that the council tried to speed the project up by proposing a mediation session that would have "taken away" some of the issues being adjudicated at the upcoming hearings.

According to Sheehan, those sessions only lasted a couple months before the developer opted out.

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