TUPPER LAKE - Planning board members decided Thursday not to hire an engineering firm to help them make decisions on the Adirondack Club and Resort for the first section it has to approve.
Earlier this year the board requested proposals from engineers to review ACR plans and help it make decisions. It received three bids.
Board members mentioned them at a September board meeting but decided to hold off, noting that not much can be done until the Article 78 lawsuit against developers and the state over the state Adirondack Park Agency's approval of the project is resolved.
But Thursday, when developers showed up at a special meeting asking for approval of waivers and deferrals for their application and for their application for the first portion of the project to move forward, board Chairman Jim Larkin suggested a decision shouldn't be put off choosing one any longer.
"I think it's time we have an engineering firm on board," Larkin said.
Board member Jim Ellis said he's not sure why the board needs an engineer, noting that he was a history teacher, not a planning expert.
"I think you answered your own question," Larkin responded. "I don't know if we've got the technical knowledge to make this decision."
He said that since there's a lack of expertise on the board in terms of engineering, it would make him feel more comfortable having expert consultants so the planning board doesn't miss anything.
New planning board Member Shawn Stuart said he doesn't think there's a need for an engineering firm since all of this portion of the project is on private land.
ACR lawyer Bob Sweeney told the board it wouldn't have any liability if it were to miss something in the plans. A buyer needs to beware of any issues with a property like the waivers that the board was considering.
Sweeney also noted that the plans were fully engineered and approved by the APA.
He said the portion of the project he's asking the board to approve includes only 18 single-family lots and that it's not complex, with all private water, sewer and roads.
"This part's pretty simple," Sweeney said. "It will get more complicated."
Planning board member Bob Collier said that it might be redundant to have an engineer look at the plans, since experts with the APA and the state Department of Environmental Conservation both have to review the plans.
"I would be pretty comfortable with this section as it is currently engineered, personally," Collier said.
Stuart said that as soon as public infrastructure is involved, he'd consider hiring an engineer to help.
At a June meeting, Larking noted that Preserve Associates would have to pay for an engineering firm if the planning board were to hire one. He said he knows that will be tough for the developers, "but the fact remains that we have to be represented by an engineering firm," Larkin said.