APA plans big agenda for this week’s monthly meeting

RAY BROOK — After months of scheduling just one-day monthly meetings, the state Adirondack Park Agency plans on a whopper of a meeting later this week, tackling some of the biggest and most controversial decisions in recent memory.

The APA board will vote this week on whether plans for the High Peaks Wilderness Area and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest comply with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The amendments to those two unit management plans, put forth by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, represent the most sweeping changes to the Adirondacks’ most visited places in decades.

The APA meeting will be at agency headquarters in Ray Brook and will start at 9 a.m. on Thursday. At 10:30, the Regulatory Programs Committee will vote on approving a permit for a sand, gravel and stone mining operation in North Hudson. APA staff recommends approval, with certain conditions. The project involves the expansion of an existing sand and gravel mining operation as well as the creation of a new stone operation.

After that, the committee will vote on a proposed 90-foot communications tower at McCauley Mountain near Old Forge. The free-standing tower will have numerous antennae that will become part of Herkimer County’s public safety radio system. A small shed is also proposed, as is the elongation of an existing ski area maintenance road. APA staff recommends approval with conditions.

After lunch, the committee will then vote on approval of a 43-parcel subdivision, which is partially inside the village of Lake Placid. The subdivision will have 40 homes situated on lots ranging in size from one acre to eight acres, with three lots left vacant. Staff also recommends approval with conditions of this project.

From 2-4 p.m., the State Land Committee will meet to discuss several UMPs. First up is a vote to send the Mount Van Hoevenberg UMP to public comment. The UMP calls for wide-ranging changes to the 1980 Olympic venue, including a new biathlon range, a mountain coaster and a new snow-making reservoir, along with dozens of other proposals.

The State Land Committee will then take a vote on whether the High Peaks and Vanderwhacker UMP amendments conform with the SLMP, although several Adirondack green groups have said the plans don’t due to a number of issues.

The meeting continues on Friday at 10 a.m. with the State Land Committee reconvening to vote on proceeding to public comment on the state Department of Transportation’s generic Travel Corridor UMP. The UMP – at nearly 400 pages – addresses how DOT regulates and maintains roads and travel corridors, although specifics of particular road sections [such as state Route 73 outside of Lake Placid] would be addressed in plans specific to those areas. The APA’s proposed changes that apply to the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor are not part of this document.

To see the full agenda and documents mailed to APA board members, go to www.apa.ny.gov.