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Resort plaintiffs hurt Tupper Lake

October 4, 2012
By Michael D. Foxman , Preserve Associates

I read recently that Peter Bauer said the Article 78 appeal filed by Protect the Adirondacks was "largely based on procedural matters" and that he expected it to be "settled" in 2013. Apparently, he was trying to pour oil on the waters Protect and the Sierra Club had roiled with their 642-paragraph appeal of the 10-to-1 state Adirondack Park Agency vote to approve the Adirondack Club and Resort.

It appears that Mr. Bauer, who apparently believes people's memories are so short they have forgotten his role in the inappropriately named and unlamented Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and who has only recently returned from exile, does not yet understand that the regional community is not willing to sit passively while Protect and the Sierra Club grind it under the shiny new hiking boots they bought (from a catalogue or somewhere south of the Adirondacks) for the occasion.

Mr. Bauer should understand that very few people consider it acceptable for those special-interest lobbyists to file any appeal, let alone one based on "largely procedural matters," knowing that the consequences of filing that frivolous appeal include the possibility of ruining hundreds of lives, effectively destroying the economy of an entire village of 3,700 people, shuttering struggling small businesses, needlessly distracting already overburdened judges and their staffs, unnecessarily costing government staggering amounts of money, deferring much-needed local governmental and school revenue, and jeopardizing the only project on the horizon that might serve as a catalyst for the rejuvenation of Tupper Lake. That sentence is a mouthful, but it all is true. The appeal was filed in the hope the resultant delay and cost would kill the ACR. At best, it was filed with no concern for the consequences to the community. At worst, it is a shameless attempt to destroy the community and see the village doors close forever.

By describing the litigation as largely based on procedural and, therefore, non-environmental matters, Mr. Bauer seems to be in conflict with Mr. Caffry, who, in the same article, is quoted as saying that Protect always opposed the ACR.

I am not surprised that they could not keep their stories straight. It usually is easier to remember the truth. From the day in 2004 that the preservationists realized the ACR had the potential to revitalize the economy of Tupper Lake, they have spun a web of deception using half-truths, disingenuous questions, unjustified fears, malicious gossip, anonymous notes and blogs, and all the other tools lobbyists and self-righteous ideologues traditionally use in their attempts to stop what they oppose.

Mr. Bauer makes an outstanding effort to seem sincere when he questions accusations about the litigation made by ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy) and demands substantiation of the obvious. I take my hat off to him. If I were in his place and had to do that, I would have trouble keeping a straight face. Like everyone else in his position, Mr. Bauer's business is making unsubstantiated allegations, raising doubts and whispering unrealistic fears into all available ears while scattering red herrings about with both hands.

Despite Mr. Bauer's attempt, on behalf of Protect and the Sierra Club, to avoid blame for Big Tupper being closed, it is a fact that there are people who, but for the appeal, would have advanced the moneys required to reopen Big Tupper this winter. Some already have invested in the village with Tom Lawson. Most want to buy lots in the ACR. Coincidentally, some of them will be in Tupper Lake in the next 10 days to meet with members of the community, not with Mr. Bauer.

As to Mr. Caffry's glib remark about our "being where we are," we like where we are. We have the approval of the New York State Adirondack Park Agency to develop a unique, four-season resort on 6,300 wooded acres with 650 vacation home sites. The resort will offer downhill and cross country skiing, golf, a marina, trails through thousands of acres of forest and many other amenities in one of the most desirable and prestigious locations in America, the Adirondack Park. We border large lakes that are available to the public for boating, swimming and fishing, and a 250,000-acre state forest as well as Follensby Park and Litchfield Park. We have trout streams and ponds on site. We have almost 3 miles of frontage on the beautiful Raquette River. Our ski area exists, is a very good family mountain and has an interesting, 1,152-foot vertical. The golf course was designed by Donald Ross and built in the 1930s. No one before has ever been able to obtain such a permit, and no one else will in the future.

In addition, we have the support of the community, the governor, the boards of Franklin County and the town and village of Tupper Lake, the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency, the town supervisor and the village mayor; state Sen. Betty Little, Assemblywoman Janet Duprey and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Rotary, Knights of Columbus and other local service organizations.

Yes, Mr. Caffry, in large part because of the tactics and opaque influence of the preservationists, it has cost more time and money (eight years and well in excess of $8 million) than anyone anticipated to reach where we are, but now that we are there, the view is great. Of course, it would be even better, for us and for the community, if Protect and the Sierra Club were not trying to block it.

As to capital constraints, yes again, Mr. Caffry. We will have to raise more money, some quickly, but I doubt that the water barrels on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria were full when Columbus first saw the Bahamas. Development projects can be like the early exploratory expeditions. They set their goals, make adjustments as needed, run the risk of meeting savages and, with luck and perseverance, achieve something worthwhile.


Michael D. Foxman lives in Elverson, Pa., and is the lead developer for the ACR in Tupper Lake.



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