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Village of Tupper Lake to stall annexation law

November 24, 2010
By JESSICA COLLIER, Enterprise Staff Writer

TUPPER LAKE - Before enacting a local law that could affect the Adirondack Club and Resort, the village board plans to work more on it.

The village board held a hearing Monday, Nov. 15, on a law that would cap any new water and/or sewer districts, requiring any property that wants water or sewer services to first annex into the village. At the hearing, Tupper Lake Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland told Mayor Mickey Desmarais the law could have an impact on the ACR, which would overhaul the Big Tupper Ski Area and build out the land around it with 651 luxury housing units and amenities including a spa, a marina and an equestrian center.

Project developers Michael Foxman and Tom Lawson requested a meeting with the village board last Thursday morning.

Foxman explained at the Thursday meeting that the project has its water and sewer districts in place but is going through the process of getting applications from the state Adirondack Park Agency and Department of Environmental Conservation, and those agencies might require developers to change their plans. That, Foxman said, might be a problem if the local law is enacted beforehand.

Foxman and Lawson also showed up to a Friday morning village board meeting, which was scheduled before the Thursday gathering. At the Friday meeting, board members directed village attorney Doug Wright to rewrite the annexation law to include some kind of exemption for the ACR property.

Desmarais said Tuesday that part of the question is what to do about the ACR property. Should the village exempt the entire 6,000-plus acres? Should only the existing district be exempt?

At Thursday's meeting, Foxman offered to have his attorney provide language for the law that would exempt his property, but Desmarais rejected that offer, saying the board knows what it needs to do.

Desmarais said the board is also doing some other research this week, including meeting with Saranac Lake village board members, who passed a similar law for their village. Other issues brought up at the hearing included the fact that land must be contiguous to the village in order to annex it, but Desmarais said there are differing opinions on what contiguous could mean.

They also want to explore what the village's options would be for special-use districts if another large development is proposed outside the village. Desmarais said the board's real concern is tiny water and sewer districts being added all around the village.

"I don't see us not moving forward with it; we just want to make sure that all the board members understand what we're doing," Desmarais said.

Much of the Thursday's meeting consisted of Desmarais and Foxman mutually affirming the relationship between the developers and the village. Desmarais said at the Thursday meeting that, contrary to what some people believe, the law was not proposed to hurt the project. Rather, the village believes it's in its best interest to help make the project a reality, Desmarais said. It just needs to be fine-tuned ahead of time to avoid any problems.

"If we wanted to stop the project, we could deny them water," Desmarais said.

Foxman agreed that the village has been cooperative during the process of planning the resort and that it's important for developers to work with the village to create a booming economy to make the resort more attractive to buyers.

"You've come through every single time," Foxman said. "We think it's important that the village thrive."

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Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 25 or jcollier@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.

 
 

 

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