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APA staff: Boat launch OK for resort use

DEC would expand boat launch if it gets too busy

March 24, 2011
By JESSICA COLLIER, Enterprise Staff Writer

TUPPER LAKE - It's OK if the Adirondack Club and Resort uses the state Department of Environmental Conservation boat launch, but it might still overload the site.

That's according to testimony from state Adirondack Park Agency planner Colleen Parker Wednesday at an APA adjudicatory hearing on the project.

In pre-filed testimony, Parker had said she hadn't heard any decision from the DEC on whether it would allow ACR staff to use the state boat launch as a place to launch boats belonging to resort residents. Using state launches for business purposes has been sometimes not allowed in the past, depending on the use.

Article Photos

State Adirondack Park Agency planner Colleen Parker is questioned by Adirondack Club and Resort attorney Thomas Ulasewicz in an APA adjudicatory hearing session Wednesday at the Tupper Lake Train Depot.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)

Parker said she spoke with DEC representative Scott Abrahamson when he attended the first hearing session Tuesday, and he told her the DEC would consider ACR residents as members of the public, and the use would be allowed.

In her pre-filed testimony, Parker had said the boat launch is currently underused and could handle some new capacity once the ACR starts making use of it. But she said APA staff was concerned that capacity might be an issue once the resort reaches its full build-out of 651 luxury housing units plus a 60-unit inn, especially during busy weekends and holiday periods.

On the stand, Parker said Abrahamson told her that if the launch becomes overcrowded, the DEC would likely look into creating a third launch lane at the site.

Fact Box

The hearing

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The adjudicatory hearing for the Adirondack Club and Resort is set to run for 26 days, broken down into three two- to three-week groupings by topic.

The first group was scheduled to run for two weeks, but O'Connell and several parties said Wednesday they'd like to try to squish all the work into today and Friday.

The first two days of this group of hearing sessions, which started with discussion of the boat launch and will next address the resort's potential visual impact, were held at the Tupper Lake Train Depot, but today they move to APA headquarters in Ray Brook.

ACR engineer Kevin Franke is scheduled to testify first today on visual impacts. Then the Adirondack Council's expert witness, landscape architect Harry Dodson, is set to take the stand. APA planner Colleen Parker is the last expert witness scheduled to testify on the topic, but she said Wednesday she didn't expect there to be time for all three witnesses today.

Session group 2 is set to last two weeks, and session group 3 is scheduled to last three weeks, with several weeks off in between each.

The sessions held at APA headquarters will be webcast live at www.apa.state.ny.us. Any sessions held in Tupper Lake will be processed and posted for viewing on the APA website a few days after they are recorded.

Since the launch is part of the state's Bog River Unit Management Plan, APA would have jurisdiction over any such project, Parker said.

Resort developers, who want to overhaul the Big Tupper Ski Area and build out the land around it, plan to have staff launch boats for resort residents, move the boats to slips at its nearby marina (formerly the McDonald's Marina), then shuttle residents there to board the boats. The marina does not have a launch.

According to project engineer Kevin Franke's pre-filed testimony, APA staff had requested that developers look into the possibility of installing a boat launch at the marina. But Franke said they decided it wasn't an option because it would have too much of a negative environmental and operational impact.

In cross-examination Tuesday, Franke told Protect the Adirondacks attorney John Caffry that, according to his estimates, if ACR residents used the boat launch at full capacity, there would only be enough room for one other boat to use the site in a day.

In ACR attorney Thomas Ulasewicz's cross-examination of Parker Wednesday, he established that number would only be reached if every single ACR homeowner and at least half the people who owned townhouses had a boat.

Parker told Caffry in cross-examination that the state would likely pay for an expansion of the boat launch, as it isn't mentioned anywhere in ACR developers' application to the APA.

The APA is holding the adjudicatory hearing to examine the potential environmental and municipal impact of the project before commissioners decide whether to give it a permit.

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

 
 

 

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