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ACR hearing expected soon

TUPPER LAKE - After years of public review, town hall meetings, mediation sessions and negotiations, the Adirondack Club and Resort project is entering its final phase.

An adjudicatory hearing will begin soon, possibly as early as next month, overseen by administrative law judge Daniel O'Connell. When that hearing is finished, the Adirondack Park Agency will have 60 days to vote on whether the 600-unit resort should be given a permit.

But with the day of reckoning for the project drawing ever closer, some officials are expressing concern that the final vote will be rushed through - even though the project has been in the works for some seven years now.

Cecil Wray sits on the state Adirondack Park Agency's Board of Commissioners.

"I think it would be extremely unfortunate if when that time comes, we are put under any time pressure," he said. "I really don't want to see after four years of waiting to be told there is a time clock running and you have to fish or cut bait. Given the importance of this thing, I think we need plenty of time to consider whatever is finally put before us."

That concern was echoed by Commissioner Frank Mezzano, who recalled being buried with information at the last minute when voting on other large and complex projects.

"The sheets of paper came in boxes, regular file big boxes that we had to somehow plow through," he said.

The APA's deliberations will be complicated by the fact that commissioners have been instructed to limit the amount of information they're gathering from the media about the Big Tupper resort - so that their decision will be based on the official record produced by the hearing.

They also can't deliberate amongst themselves ahead of time.

One more wrinkle is that many of the commissioners on the APA board weren't around when this project was first introduced. Here's board member Lani Ulrich:

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