APA sends Willsboro airport request to public hearing

Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters in Ray Brook

Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters in Ray Brook Photo by Andy Flynn.

— A Willsboro project once deemed complete is heading to a round of public hearings through the Adirondack Park Agency (APA).

During the APA meetings Oct. 10 and 11, the Regulatory Programs Committee first denied an appeal of Sunset Farm, Ltd. owner Daniel Arbour after confusion over the status of the application to use the property as a private airport. The committee then recommended that the application go through a public hearing.

The confusion over the application was described by Sunset Farms attorney Matt Norfolk, who stated his client received word from the APA in April 2012 that the application had been ruled complete. Agency staff then sent a notice that more information was needed.

“Any tribunal would be able to see that we have all of the permits and permission that we need now with the exception of the APA,” Norfolk said. “We have a written determination from the town that the use of this land as an airport is not against town ordinance. We have the permission of the DOT and FAA, which took us almost a year to get.”

Norfolk also appealed on procedural issues, stating the written notice of the change was not sent using certified mail.

Mike Hill, attorney for a neighboring property, said the applicant had not done enough to receive completed application approval.

“The previous notice of completion had been issued in error by the APA,” he said. “The applicant has not submitted all of the needed information that the APA needs and was seeking. We have raised questions and asked that the APA seeks more information. They have sent you some of that, but not all.”

Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does include information about the Sunset Farm airport on its website, airport-data.com/airport/61NK. It lists the status of the field as “operational,” managed by Arbour and located on 100 acres at 3061 Essex Road.

The airport is proposed to consist of one grass runway measuring 1,500 feet by 75 feet. There is no control tower, but there will be a wind indicator.

“All we are talking about is a grass strip of land with a 7-foot wind sock,” Norfolk said. “We have the blessing of the zoning officer, town, DOT and APA. Let’s start going forward.”

The APA has yet to post a public hearing date for the Sunset Farm, Ltd. application on their website, apa.ny.gov.

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