February 09, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Further Information Contact: (518) 891-4050
Keith P. McKeever, Public Relations
RAY BROOK, NY - Adirondack Park Agency Board votes unanimously to provide comprehensive review of the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort Project.
At Thursday's Adirondack Park Agency meeting the Regulatory Programs Committee accepted Park Agency staff's recommendation to hold an adjudicatory hearing for the proposed resort - residential project, "Adirondack Club and Resort."
The Regulatory Programs Committee accepted the recommendation after two days of presentations and discussion. Issues identified as reasons to proceed to an adjudicatory public hearing were based on the following criteria:
Size and complexity of the project;
Degree of public interest in the project;
Presence of significant issues relating to the criteria for approval of the project;
Possibility that the project can only be approved if major modifications are made or substantial conditions are imposed;
Possibility that information presented at a public hearing would be of assistance to the agency in its review; and
Extent of public involvement achieved by other means.
The proposal involves 6,236 acres and would result in the construction of 387 buildings and 759 residential units. Infrastructure costs were estimated at $45 million for wastewater, water, roads and electric infrastructure and $600 million in value of residential units. The board indicated the scale of the project could have potential impacts to community character, quality of life, need for local government services and create possible public vulnerability.
The committee vote was unanimous and the recommendation was forwarded to the Full Agency for deliberation at Friday's meeting.
On Friday, February 9, the Full Agency voted unanimously, after careful deliberation, to send the Adirondack Club and Resort project to an adjudicatory hearing. The agency hereby orders this matter to public hearing pursuant to Section 580.3 and directed the following issues be considered at the adjudicatory hearing:
Issue #1. Is the natural resource protection (including visual, forest resources, habitat and other natural resource considerations) implicit in Resource Management land use area adequately protected (section (805(g)(2)); are the proposed Great Camp lots substantial acreage...on carefully and well designed sites. Are there alternatives, and if so, what are the relative impacts on these resources.
Issue #2. What are the impacts of the Orvis Shooting School activities on the noise levels, existing and as proposed; are there alternatives or conditions which would address those impacts; are there any associated effects on water quality or traffic on Lake Simond Road.
Issue #3. What are the impacts of the proposed East Ridge, upper portions of the West Slopeside, and the Westface developments on the existing land topography, vegetation and soils; will the development as proposed cause excessive stormwater run off, erosion and slippage in these areas; what will be the visual impacts during the day and night of these proposed sections.
Issue #4. What impacts does the proposed on site sewage treatment facility at Lake Simond have on neighboring water bodies.
Issue #5. What are the fiscal impacts of the project to the governmental units should any phase or section of the project not be completed as proposed; what is the public vulnerability should the project either fail or not proceed at its projected pace relating to on and off-site infrastructure for which cost-sharing has been proposed between the developer and local governments (e.g. drinking water plant improvements, road maintenance)or on-site private infrastructure that may be subject to eventual operation by the Town; what is the ability to provide municipal and emergency services to any section in light of the road design or the elevation (e.g., East Ridge booster pump station).
Issue #6. Section 805 (4) requires the consideration of the burden on and benefits to the public. What are the positive and negative fiscal impacts of the project to the governmental units? What are the impacts of the project on the municipalities electric system ability to meet future demand? To what extent will energy conservation mitigate demand impacts? What are the assumptions and guarantees that the Big Tupper ski area can be renovated and retained as a community resource; what are the current and expected market conditions relating to available housing for the projects workforce; what are the impacts of the proposed project on the local housing market?
Issue #7. What are the impacts, alternatives and appropriate conditions on the use of Forest Preserve such as State facilities in Intensive Use areas?
Issue #8. Are there alternatives to minimize interference with wetland values and functions including ground water infiltration, wildlife habitat, stormwater control and other values, and the need for mitigation in the areas of Cranberry Pond wetland complex, the marina, and the base lodge footprint?
Issue #9. Are there undue adverse downstream stormwater impacts associated with the base lodge subcatchment area? Specifically, the water quantity components (i.e., overbank flood and extreme flood) included in the stormwater pond designs.
Issue #10. What are the appropriate mechanisms to coordinate and ensure project compliance with application commitments and permit conditions as the project is undertaken over time?
The Adirondack Park Agency will now begin the process of scheduling the adjudicatory hearing. It is anticipated the hearing will begin before March 20.
This type of hearing provides the permit applicant; the public, neighbors, local government, other involved state agencies and Agency staff an opportunity to present evidence and to argue contested issues before an impartial hearing officer. The resulting record, including the permit application, public comment, exhibits, testimony and written submissions from participants in the hearing, provides the sole basis for the Adirondack Park Agency Board's final determination on this proposed project.
The adjudicatory hearing includes four components:
1) pre-hearing conference which initiates the hearing;
2) an informal session for unsworn public comment on the record;
3) the formal hearing at which evidence is advanced and testimony accepted for the record and
4) the closing argument and/or briefs.
The pre-hearing conference provides an opportunity to identify parties to the hearing, issues to be adjudicated and other procedural matters. At the informal session, any member of the public is invited to speak or ask questions of the applicant.
The length of the adjudicatory proceeding depends upon the number and complexity of the environmental and legal issues, the number of witnesses, the result of the pre-hearing direction of the Agency and the deliberation before the hearing officer at the issues conference.
An independent hearing officer will be assigned to oversee the adjudicatory proceedings. The role of the hearing officer is to do everything necessary to assure that the hearing is fair and impartial, as well as efficient and orderly. Specifically, the hearing officer is responsible for the following:
Initiate the hearing with a conference to establish parties, issues and initial hearing schedule
Administer oaths or affirmations
Set/adjourn hearing dates and schedule for testimony and argument
Rule on all motions and requests until the close of the hearing
Issue, quash or modify subpoenas for the appearance of persons or the production of documents
Admit or exclude evidence offered for the record
Limit the number of witnesses and cross-examination
The Adirondack Park Agency Board will ultimately render final decision on whether or not to approve the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort project. Their decision will be based solely on the hearing record. The hearing record will include the transcripts of the hearing, the application, all exhibits as admitted to the record by the hearing officer, any letter, petitions or comments, stipulations and the briefs filed by parties and the Agency hearing staff during the hearing and any determinations of the hearing officer. The hearing record is closed upon the receipt at the Agency of the full transcript, and briefs or any documents the parties agreed to submit at the hearing, whichever occurs later.