2021 Explored: APA Decisions – Adirondack Explorer
The APA collected fines and was caught red-handed in 2021
In its 50th year, the Adirondack Park Agency has overseen controversial law enforcement cases, reviewed several large development and renewable energy projects, and chaired a president after more than two and a half years without one.
Two other enforcement cases have led to five-figure fines this year for residents accused of building illegal terraces.
The first involved Hamilton County retirees fined $ 28,500 for building a patio outside of APA regulations on Lake Algonquin in Wells. The agency also fined a Long Lake business owner the same amount for what it called an illegal patio near Jennings Pond.
The agency approved its first major subdivision as part of a new application and began the process for a second. The first, a 32-house complex near Lake Great Sacandaga on Lake Woodward, has been criticized by environmental organizations. They argued that development does not protect natural resources. The APA is also studying a proposal for a luxury resort in the town of Jay.
The APA was in the midst of controversial projects and litigation this year, with residents of Forestport battling a granite quarry project and residents of Santa Clara taking legal action over the development of a subdivision on Upper Lake. Saranac. The agency won a case in the state Supreme Court against Thomas Jorling, a former commissioner of the State Department of Environmental Conservation. Jorling sued the APA, DEC and a marina on Lower Saranac Lake over the marina expansion project. Jorling, who said the APA was not protecting the park, reserved the right to appeal.
In light of the state’s carbon emission reduction targets and the growing number of solar developers seeking permits, the APA has also faced questions of solar siting. The agency has approved 35 megawatts of commercial solar power to date.
At the end of October, Governor Kathy Hochul appointed John Ernst, New York City businessman and owner of the Adirondack retirement, as president of the agency. The APA has been without a full-time board leader since Karen Feldman’s resignation in May 2019.
– Gwendolyn Craig
RELATED: Read our nine-part series that tells the story of the sometimes controversial campaign to create the Adirondack Park agency