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Thomas helps APA approve Tupper resort

Adirondack Park Agency Commissioner Bill Thomas, of Johnsburg, asks APA Senior Natural Resources Planner Matt Kendall, right, about the Adirondack Club and Resort project during the Jan. 20 meeting.

Adirondack Park Agency Commissioner Bill Thomas, of Johnsburg, asks APA Senior Natural Resources Planner Matt Kendall, right, about the Adirondack Club and Resort project during the Jan. 20 meeting. Photo by Andy Flynn.

Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Commissioner Bill Thomas, of Johnsburg, voted “yes” Jan. 20 to help approve the controversial Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake.

The vote was 10-1.

Before the 11 board members cast their votes — in alphabetical order — they explained why they voted yes or no. Almost all agreed that the review process, which took almost eight years, needed improvement. But that didn’t stop most from approving the resort planned around the Big Tupper Ski Area on Mount Morris.

“This brings the opportunity of economic development to Tupper Lake,” Thomas said.

“People have lost a lot of sleep over this,” said DEC designee Judy Drabicki.

“I’ve agonized over this decision,” said Commissioner Art Lussi, of Lake Placid. “It’s hard because you have to take sides … I think this plan is very thoughtfully done.”

Commissioner Richard Booth, a lawyer from Ithaca, was the only one to vote against the project, citing three main reasons: the sponsors failed to provide realistic sales figures; no wildlife inventory was required or completed, and there was no review on how the project would impact wildlife; and the project is not consistent with the Park Agency’s resource management zoning.

“I think these three flaws that I mention have caused me to conclude that this project is not consistent with the plan,” Booth said. “There is an undue adverse impact.”

The developers — Preserve Associates —still need to obtain a number of permits from other agencies, including the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation, prior to construction. The lead developers — Michael Foxman and Tom Lawson — watched the vote at APA Headquarters in the middle of an audience of 58 people.

The Park Agency’s approval includes a project order and 14 permits for the various project components, which are conditioned to ensure no undue adverse impacts occur as a result of this development.

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