August 8, 2012 -- The David and Goliath battle against the Adirondack Park Agency and developers "Preserve Associates" (from Pennsylvania) is currently being written in legal briefs and news articles. According to Protect the Adirondacks recent Press Release of July 18, (Here) the actual courtroom battle in a state Appellate Division court in Albany will not be scheduled until the fall. But here are excerpts from the July 18th Press Release from Protect! describing the current content of the Briefs defending 6,600 acres of prime forest and lakes around Tupper Lake: "The Reply addresses the legal issues raised by the initial and amended Petition:
PROTECT believes that this lawsuit will decide important issues regarding the Adirondack Park Agency Act and APA regulations. The court must address the APA’s new argument that language in the APA Act, which has long been cited as protecting Resource Management lands, is now somehow only “advisory” or “guidelines”. The Court will also have to consider the new evidence of illegal communications between ACR and the APA Senior Staff...." The original Press Release announcing the lawsuit is here Press Release
- That the APA violated the law when it approved the creation of 80 residential lots on over 4,000 acres of lands classified Resource Management, which were neither on “substantial acreages” or in “small clusters on carefully selected and well designed sites” as the statute creating the APA Act requires.
- That the APA granted approval without the legally required substantial evidence that the project will not have an undue adverse impact upon the wildlife on the project site.
- That the APA’s approval decision improperly allows wildlife impact studies and site design to be undertaken after-the-fact rather than submitted as part of the project application, illegally depriving interested persons and the public of the opportunity to participate fully in the project review as the APA Act requires.
- That the APA violated the APA Act in weighing and balancing economic benefits claimed by the developer against adverse environmental impacts from the project.
- That the APA approved disturbance of a class 2 wetland (Cranberry Pond) contrary to its own regulations, which require that a development avoid degradation of such a wetland when a reasonable alternative is available.
- That the APA’s decision lacks legally sufficient findings of fact to support its approval.
- That the APA illegally determined it would consider the nearly 700-unit project “vested,” that is, allowed to be completely built out in accordance with the original 14 permits, provided the developer conveys just one lot, contrary to the APA Act and its own regulations, which require “substantial expenditures” to have been made for structures or improvement in order to “vest” a project.
- That, in deciding to approve the project, the APA illegally relied on information outside the official adjudicatory hearing record.
- That illegal ex parte communications took place between the APA Senior Staff advising Commissioners responsible for deliberating and deciding on the ACR application and representatives of the developer.