Not every project requires a permit. For those that do, here is an overview of the process.
After reading the Citizen's Guide, finding out your land classification and using the permit checklist, you may already know you'll need a permit, but what if you're not sure? Contact the Agency or fill out a Jurisdictional Inquiry form.
Based on the information you provide on your jurisdictional inquiry form (inluding a description of your project, the tax map number and the history of ownership and use of the property), Agency staff will tell you if a permit is needed.
The Permitting Process
Once it is determined that an Agency permit is required for your proposed project, the next step is to complete the appropriate application form. This form can be obtained from the Agency or downloaded from the Agency's website. It is advisable to contact the Agency first to aviod filling out the wrong application.
For larger projects in particular, a preapplication meeting with APA staff is recommended before you fill out the application. These meetings are often helpful for completing the application and ensuring awareness of the Agency’s process and standards for review. You can possibly save time and money by talking to the Agency first.
When the application is received by the APA, it is assigned to an individual review officer who checks it for completeness. Within 15 calendar days you will be notified whether or not the application is complete. If it is incomplete, you will be told specifically what additional information is needed. For all major projects, public notices invite comment. The APA Act specifies time limits within which Agency notifications and a public hearing (if needed) must take place. Designated time limits may be extended with consent of both the Agency and applicant.
Once the project application is complete (meaning the Agency has all the information necessary to review the project), substantive review will start.
When are public hearings held?
The Agency meets in public on a monthly basis to consider permit
applications. For a small percentage of projects that come to
the Agency for review, a decision is made to also hold a public
hearing. A public hearing may be scheduled for one of the following
• to give the public an opportunity to express views and opinions, especially in regard to large projects;
• if a project is controversial;
• if landowners adjoining the project site may be adversely affected;
• if the local government involved requests one; or
• if it appears the project may be unapprovable (the Agency cannot deny an application without first holding a public hearing).
Approving a Project
Staff Approvals. Most permit applications are acted
upon by the APA staff - specifically, the Director of Regulatory
Programs - without going to the full Agency Board. This procedure
saves time for the applicant in that staff act on the project
without waiting for the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of
the Agency members.
The Director of Regulatory Programs can only approve projects. Any recommendation for a denial must go to the Agency Board for consideration.
You are given the right to appeal any permit condition imposed by the Director of Regulatory Programs to the Regulatory Programs Committee of the Agency Board.
Board Approvals. The following projects always require
the approval of the Agency Board:
• a subdivision involving 50 lots or more;
• a project upon which the Agency has held a public hearing; or
• a project involving a variance.
About 98 percent of project applications are approved. Most of the permits issued contain conditions which are intended to protect the environment and adjacent uses.
Please note that other permits (federal, state and local) may be required for your project in addition to an APA permit.
Agency Decisions Can Be Reconsidered
Procedures exist to allow you to request that your application,
if disapproved by the Agency, be reconsidered. You must demonstrate
• newly discovered facts or evidence exists; or
• there has been a change in Agency policy; or
• the previous determination was based on materially erroneous findings of fact.
The APA has an enforcement program to insure that the laws are properly administered and complied with. If you have questions or want to discuss a specific matter, please call us.
For more on the permit process, see pages 8 and 9 of the Citizen's Guide to Adirondack Park Land Use Regulations (pdf 370kb).
Links to related information on our site:
The Adirondack Park Agency phone number is