TUPPER LAKE - Though some people are calling it a move that may hinder development, the village board passed a law Monday night that would require anyone who wants new sewer or water service to annex into village limits.
Village board members tried to pass the law in the fall, but developers of the Adirondack Club and Resort were concerned that it would put a kink in their plans to overhaul the Big Tupper Ski Area and build 651 housing units around it.
Town Attorney Dave Johnson asked the board at a hearing on the law, before it was passed, whether the district that will serve the ACR will be an exception to the ban, as village officials had left the discussion when they talked it over with Michael Foxman and Tom Lawson, the lead investors on the project.
District 27, which would serve some properties on the development, would be an exception, said Doug Wright, who was village attorney until he tendered his resignation Monday night.
Town Deputy Supervisor Shawn Stuart asked if the ban will apply to a property that already has either water or sewer service but wants to add the other.
Wright said the way the law is written, it would. Board members didn't agree that should be the case.
"It's kind of, 'Oh, we've got one foot in the door,'" said village Mayor Mickey Desmarais.
But rather than rewrite the law and have to hold yet another public hearing, the board decided to pass the law now and amend it later to allow for the extension of services to a property that has one but not the other. Desmarais said board members wanted to get their intent on record.
The town board had also submitted another question in writing to the village board: whether a property that is not contiguous with village land could be annexed into the village. Wright told the town representatives present that the law makes it clear that would not be allowed.
"This is the aim of this, to not permit that," Wright said.
Johnson told village board members that the town board and others are concerned that this law would restrict development.
"I've heard that comment many times," Johnson said.
Desmarais said the law's intention is to protect the village.
"We have to think of our long-term survivability here," Desmarais said. "As village representatives, we have to think as a village, and obviously the town like for the towns."
Villages were created to give services like water, sewer and police protection, but over the years, Tupper Lake and other villages started to allow people outside village limits to make use of various village services without always charging for them.
Desmarais said he's been talking about passing a law like this for 13 years.
"If we did it 13 years ago, the village would've expanded," Desmarais said.
Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.